Reading vs Sunderland predictions: Black Cats set for more away misery
Two teams in the early Championship promotion picture go up against each on Wednesday evening at 8pm as Reading welcome Sunderland to the Madejski Stadium.
After guiding Reading to safety last season, Paul Ince was handed the job permanently and the club has started off the 2022-23 campaign in a promising fashion, with 15 points gathered from eight matches.
The Royals find themselves towards the summit of the Championship and they will feel confident about chalking up a sixth league win when taking on Sunderland, who are still finding their feet under new boss Tony Mowbray.
Having been appointed as Alex Neil's successor, the former Blackburn chief started off his tenure with a 3-0 victory at home to Rotherham before losing 1-0 to rivals Middlesbrough last time out.
Only four points separate Reading and Sunderland at this early stage of the season. Still, the Royals look to be playing better football right now and they will approach Wednesday's contest in a positive fashion.
Reading defeated Stoke 2-1 last time out and Ince is unlikely to tinker with his winning 11 too much, with one potential switch seeing Mamadou Loum coming into the side in place of Shane Long.
Sunderland will again be without top scorer Ross Stewart, who suffered a thigh injury in the warm-up ahead of the Middlesbrough defeat and is now expected to be out of action for between six and eight weeks.
Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo could be drafted into the starting 11 to provide an attacking boost, while Leon Dajaku is back in contention after injury and is pushing to be involved.
Reading have won four of their last five matches — the only defeat coming against Sheffield United — and they have scored seven goals and kept three clean sheets during those victories.
The Royals have won all four of their Championship games at the Madejski Stadium this season, beating Cardiff, Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Stoke, while they have not lost at home to Sunderland in the last four meetings.
Despite being unable to string together back-to-back victories this season, Sunderland are still on the cusp of the play-off positions and their return to England's second tier has started well.
However, the Black Cats have lost three of their last four away matches across all competitions and they have not tasted success at Reading since recording a 2-0 victory in March 2004.
Sunderland are still getting used to life under Mowbray and it is unlikely they will be playing expansive football on Wednesday, especially given the issues they have had on the road of late.
The absence of Stewart up top could prove to be massive for the Black Cats and that was already shown in the 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough, a game the visitors only managed two shots on target in.
Reading are playing with new-found freedom under Ince and they have looked particularly impressive on home soil, winning all four matches and only keeping two clean sheets in the process.
It would be no surprise to see the Royals pick up a win and shut out the Black Cats in the process.