LONDON (SE) - Reading will be flying high as they welcome Sunderland to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Royals (4-8-12) produced a stunning late comeback to draw 2-2 with Chelsea on Wednesday evening, a result that makes it seven points from their last three games and more importantly, a move out of the Premier League's bottom three. Adam Le Fondre came off the bench to score both goals yet again, this time in the 87th and 95th minutes, and manager Brian McDermott was delighted with the impact of his striker.
"If you've got Adam Le Fondre in your squad that can happen," said McDermott. "It was a master-class of finishing. Every single player played their part and that is exactly why we always talk about the group. Garath McCleary came on, Hope Akpan, everyone contributed. Jimmy Kebe won a very brave header inside all the bodies in their box, then Hope flicked it on and the finish was absolute quality. Not too many on that pitch would have finished that, I tell you, a ridiculous finish. The roof came off the place - I just hope nobody left early! That is right up there with any of the wins we've had.
"We were written off in April when we got promoted. We came from nowhere last year to win the league and I would never write these guys off. They've got a real willingness, heart and desire to keep going and get something."
Sunderland (7-8-9) have lost just two of their last seven league games to move nine points clear of the drop. The Black Cats picked up another hard-earned point with a draw against Swansea in midweek, but defender Titus Bramble insists that the players aren't getting over-confident.
"A point against Swansea wasn't such a bad result and now we have another tough game ahead," he told the club's official website. "Reading have picked up of late and we know it's going to be difficult, as every game in this league is.
"We know that it won't be easy and will be working hard to get ready for the game. It's always difficult to win away from home anywhere in this league, so roll on Saturday."
Reading have doubts over Nicky Hunt (knock) and Jason Roberts (hip), while Sunderland have concerns over Lee Cattermole (knee), Carlos Cuellar (hamstring), Danny Rose (hamstring) and Wes Brown (knee). New signing Danny Graham is in line to feature in the squad for the Black Cats after he completed his move from Swansea on deadline day.
Reading have lost just three games at home - the joint-lowest in the bottom half- but have conceded 23 goals on their own patch, which is the second-worst record in the division. Striker Le Fondre has scored six goals as a substitute this season - the most in the top-flight.
Heavy rain saw the August meeting between these two rescheduled for December, when the Black Cats ran out 3-0 winners.