Ex-Sunderland star plotting Black Cats’ downfall in crucial Championship showdown

Vito Mannone. Picture by Frank Reid
Vito Mannone. Picture by Frank Reid
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Ex-Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone hopes to ease Reading’s Championship relegation fears by beating his former club in Saturday’s crucial clash at the Madejski Stadium.

The Black Cats are deep in trouble in second-bottom spot heading to Reading, still six points from safety with four games to play.

Reading are still in danger themselves, though they are sixth-bottom, five points above the drop zone.

Sunderland were the only side in the bottom six to pick up a point in Tuesday’s programme, with Reading – now under Paul Clement’s control – succumbing 1-0 at high-flying Fulham.

Mannone, who left Wearside to join the Royals last summer, told readingfc.co.uk: “There were a lot of positives from Tuesday night, and there have been a lot of positives from the last three games since the manager came in.

“It’s good that we’ve got two wins at home and we need to aim for another one on Saturday.”

Clement’s side, who have beaten Preston and QPR in their last two home matches to stay clear of the bottom three, performed well against Fulham, with their high pressing giving the Londoners problems.

Mannone added: “We were really frustrating them, I think.

“The crowd was getting on them a bit because they couldn’t play their normal passing game.

“We defended well and it was a shame to concede, especially because, after they lost the ball, I thought we kept it really well.

“We started to build our confidence, but obviously the goal comes and it changes the wave of the game.

“After that, you’re kind of chasing the game and it’s difficult against a team like this, but we weren’t far off.

“It’s a team that’s going for promotion and probably will get promoted, but we’re training really hard, we’re improving and we’re focused on the positives.

“There were a couple of chances where we should maybe have scored, and that would have probably changed the game.

“We kept going and we kept the shape the gaffer told us to keep. We didn’t create so many shots and opportunities – which is something we need to improve on.

“We kept going until the end, we were attacking with three forwards and even a defender.

“We tried our best, it was good not to concede again and we keep positive and now focusing on a massive game on Saturday – which is another final.”