The Royals have had a turbulent start to the new season. After grabbing a late point against Stoke courtesy of a late Adam Le Fondre penalty, they gave Chelsea a real scare at Stamford Bridge.
Brian McDermott’s side raced into a 2-1 lead over the European Champions at half-time before succumbing to a late Chelsea revival, which was sparked by an offside Fernando Torres goal.
The Royals can take great heart from their spirited performance at Stamford Bridge however, as they make the trip to the north east this weekend.
Sunderland, meanwhile, got their season off to a solid start under Martin O’Neill with a backs-to-the-wall 0-0 draw against shot-shy Arsenal at the Emirates.
- Paddy Power will offer free bets worth £250 to spend on any Premiership game this weekend, and offer Stephane Sessegnon to score first at 13/2, which looks like the value bet -courtesy of Freebetshere.com!
The bookmakers have priced this one up with Sunderland more likely to grab the three points – they can be backed at 5/6 (Paddy Power).
Reading, who have been tipped up to cause an upset against the Mackems by a couple of well-informed tipping lines, have been backed over the past few days and are now 100/30 from 19/5 to leave the north-east with all three points.
The basis behind the mini-gamble on the Royals stems from their brilliant away record in the Championship last season where they won 13 games and only conceded 23 goals along the way away from the Madjeski Stadium.
The Royals also have a decent record in the north-east and can point to a 2-1 victory in 2005 where Dave Kitson bagged two goals to further enhance their case for a positive result this weekend. The draw is a 5/2 shot (Bet365).
On the goalscoring front Sunderland could hand a debut to Steven Fletcher, who they are reportedly close to bringing in from Wolves in a £12m deal, while Martin O’Neil has also added Louis Saha to the ranks, the 34yr old French striker signing from Tottenham on a one year deal.
But the smart money should be on livewire frontman Stephane Sessegnon to cause the immobile Reading centre halves plenty of problems.
He looks a good bet at a best priced 13/2 with Paddy Power, which like a touch of value going into the game.