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.”