Cisak makes quick-fire return

Manchester City assistant coach David Platt has been slapped

with a two-game touchline suspension by UEFA.

Platt was sent to the stands by Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi

during the 1-1 Champions League draw at home to Real Madrid on

November 21.

Manchester City have also been fined almost ?10,000 for the

improper conduct of the team after picking up five cards or more in

the same match.

Platt will be banned for City’s final Champions League game at

Borussia Dortmund and the next European game they are involved

in.

Both Platt and Manchester City have the right to appeal.

McDermott has called for unity after the Royals dropped deeper

into the relegation mire.

The Royals are now four points adrift of the safety line in the

Premier League after going down 1-0 at fellow strugglers Aston

Villa on Tuesday through Christian Benteke’s late goal.

With a home clash against leaders Manchester United next on the

horizon on Saturday evening, the picture does not get any brighter,

but McDermott has the situation in perspective.

He said: “We have to stick together now. It is really important

we do that as a group, as fans.

“Hopefully they will stick with us, and get us over the line,

and we get a result somewhere.

“We’ve got Manchester United next and it doesn’t get any better.

Reading are playing Manchester United.

“When I took this job three years ago we were second from bottom

in the Championship, trying to stay in it. The following year we

lost Gylfi Sigurdsson, the summer after that we lost Shane

Long.

“When you think of all of those things, if you look at it, we

are in a great situation.

“We are in the Barclays Premier League and fighting to make sure

we stay there for next year.”

McDermott is confident Reading will show the right type of

character to overcome their current predicament.

He added: “The players aren’t anxious. We just want to get a

result and get some momentum.

“You always find out a lot about yourself, the staff, the

players, when you don’t get the right result and how you bounce

back.

“Over the years, we’ve bounced back all the way.

“It was not a six-pointer against Villa. It was a game of

football and we’ve got another one on Saturday against Manchester

United.

“Villa have got 13 points, they’re going to want a lot more than

that. We’ve got nine, we will want a lot more than that. There are

20 more games plus to go.”

McDermott is waiting to find out what money he will have

available to strengthen the squad during the January transfer

window.

He said: “It’s like everything in this league, if you are going

to strengthen your squad you are going to need money.

“I don’t know what we’ve got. If you look at what Villa have

spent on Benteke, ?7million, it’s a lot of money. In January,

whether you can get someone to come in and play straight away in

this league, we shall wait and see.”

Meanwhile, McDermott is confident Reading will cure their habit

of conceding late goals.

He said: “It was frustrating to lose another late goal. Over my

three years here we’ve had spells when we have conceded late goals

and solved that problem.

“Last season we couldn’t score a goal in the first half for 19

games and solved that problem and won the Championship.”

The Black Cats had hoped for a maximum return from successive

home games against West Brom and QPR after ending their wait for

just a second Barclays Premier League victory of the season at

Fulham.

However, Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw with Harry Redknapp’s new

charges, coupled with a 4-2 defeat by the Baggies, left storm

clouds hanging over the Stadium of Light after just a single point

was banked.

Rose, on loan at Sunderland from Tottenham, knows something

needs to change quickly if the club is to avoid slipping into a

similar situation to the one which prompted Steve Bruce’s departure

and Martin O’Neill’s arrival a little short of a year ago.

He said: “Even at the weekend, we were disappointed in how we

had lost the game and last night was a game we wanted to win and we

thought we could win.

“It was always going to be difficult with a team who have just

got a new manager because they will get an extra 10, 20 per cent

buzz around the team and the confidence builds up, and it was

difficult.

“But nobody can afford to hide now, We need 11 fighters on the

field and seven fighters on the bench who are willing to come on

and help us.

“We have got a great team spirit and we are just waiting for our

luck to change.”

The statistics make for unpalatable reading. The Black Cats have

now won just four of their last 27 league games, the last three of

them against 10 men.

Indeed, they have not claimed three points against 11 men since

they beat Liverpool 1-0 on Wearside on March 10, and little of that

will have gone unnoticed by owner and chairman Ellis Short, who was

at last night’s game just days after his club had to move to

dismiss rumours that O’Neill had offered his resignation.

Rose was one of the few Sunderland players to emerge from the

latest disappointment with any credit after the visitors responded

to the challenge of impressing their new manager in concerted

fashion.

Indeed, had it not been for Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet,

who put Saturday’s howler against the Baggies behind him to make

vital saves from Djibril Cisse, Jamie Mackie and substitute Shaun

Wright-Phillips at the death, they might have left with all the

points.

That said, Rangers keeper Julio Cesar did well to keep out

Steven Fletcher’s first-half effort and when a groin injury

prevented his re-appearance after the break, replacement Rob Green

produced an even better stop to prevent the Scotland

international’s header from crossing the line.

There were boos for the home side as they left the pitch on the

final whistle, and while the Man of the Match award proved little

consolation for Rose, he was remaining positive.

He said: “I know I am here on loan, but for me, this is a chance

for me to show everybody what I can do.

“I don’t know what’s happening with my Tottenham career, so I am

playing for my future at the minute.

“I know it’s difficult for the lads who are here full-time and

I’m only on loan, but I just want to give 100 per cent and I am

always positive.”

Rose, of course, played under Redknapp during his time in charge

at White Hart Lane and while he might have wished for a less

positive start for the 65-year-old in his new post, he was

delighted to see him back in the Premier League after his untimely

exit.

He said: “There was a part of me that wanted to score the

winner, but I am happy that he’s back in the job with Kevin Bond

and Joe Jordan.

“I wish him the best of luck and I hope he can keep the team up.

Hopefully it won’t be at our expense, but I hope he can do great

things there.”

Meanwhile, O’Neill was today bracing himself for news of skipper

Lee Cattermole who, having shaken off a knee injury to start the

game, damaged the other within seven minutes and could not

continue.

Cisak was dislodged as Latics number-one by Dean Bouzanis in

mid-September and made his Pompey debut against Coventry last

weekend.

But Bouzanis received a red card in the closing moments of

Tuesday night’s loss at Doncaster and must serve a three-match ban

after shoving Rovers striker Iain Hume.

Providing Oldham are granted permission by the Football League

to bring Cisak back, the 23-year-old is set to start when Paul

Dickov’s men meet the same opponents in the FA Cup on Saturday.

“We will be getting Alex back for Saturday,” manager Paul Dickov

told the Oldham Chronicle.

On the sending off, Dickov added: “It is silly for Dean. There

is no need to go and get involved there.”