Rafael Benítez's job must seem straightforward to Martin O'Neill. Last Monday Sunderland's manager completed a year in charge at the Stadium of Light but it was not a happy anniversary.

After two wins in their last 22 Premier League games, his team lie one point and one place above the relegation zone.

With Reading visiting on Tuesday this is a vital few days for O'Neill but the 60-year-old remains confident he can put things right.

"I've had tougher times at other clubs and come through them," he said. "When I went to Leicester City, the first 10 or 11 games I couldn't win a match to save my life.

We turned that round and were pretty successful. The first year at Aston Villa was exceptionally tough. We'll pull round and inevitably, I hope, we'll get a team that the supporters are really proud of."

Medial knee ligament damage means O'Neill must cope without his captain and midfield enforcer, Lee Cattermole, until February but he is hoping the striker Steven Fletcherwill respond well enough to a pain-killing injection in an injured ankle to be involved against Chelsea.