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Breen gives McMarthy a boost!

Mick McCarthy has been given a pre-match boost with the news Gary Breen is fit to face Reading tomorrow.

The Republic of Ireland international defender picked up a groin strain against Stoke 11 days ago and was substituted at half-time.

The injury kept him out of the draw at Derby on Saturday and the Carling Cup defeat against Huddersfield on Tuesday.

But Breen, outstanding since signing for the Black Cats over the summer, is poised to return as Sunderland aim to get back to winning ways in their televised clash against the Royals at the Stadium of Light.

McCarthy said: "Gary has been great since he has been here and I am very hopeful he will be fit to play tomorrow.

"We thought his injury would keep him out for three or four weeks.

"But he has worked really hard to get fit again quickly."

Reading arrive at the Stadium of Light under Sunderland-born caretaker-boss and former Newcastle player, Kevin Dillon following the controversial departure of Alan Pardew, who will take over at West Ham next month.

But McCarthy does not agree with those who suggest Pardew's departure will have derailed the Royals' promotion campaign.

He said: ""That sort of thing is vastly overrated in my experience - it lasts for a week at most.

"I've been in football a long time both as a player and a manager and footballers are a much more resilient lot than they're often given credit for. They just get on with it.

"It might have affected the players in the first week it happened but the players will have picked themselves up by now and put it behind them."

Sunderland will be without Stephen Wright (calf), Matt Piper (knee) and Jason McAteer (hamstring).

But Joachim Bjorklund has recovered from a tight hamstring.

McCarthy could include new signing Tommy Smith, who has joined the club from Watford.
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Title Annotation:Sport SAFC
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2003
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