Jimmy Kebe hailed as key to Reading's recent revival after victory over Sunderland

Reading 2 Sunderland 1

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The Independent Football

The Reading captain, Jobi McAnuff, has hailed Jimmy Kebe as a "big player" for the Royals after the Mali international scored a match-winning double in the 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

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McAnuff, who provided the assist for Kebe's opener, was full of praise for the former Lens winger.

"He's a real handful for any defence in this league," he said. "He has shown a different side to his game - he was back defending, blocking crosses and it was a fantastic header to get the winner.

"Jimmy is in really good form and he's been a big player for us so far this season. His goal return has been good and he's flying at the moment.

"He's a real sight to see when he's in full flow and I'm glad he's in our side when he's on song like this."

After a run of seven consecutive defeats, Reading have lost just once since Boxing Day and have also progressed to a fifth-round FA Cup match against Manchester United.

McAnuff is keen to keep the current run going, with tough away trips to Stoke and Everton on the horizon.

"We had a tough little spell where we couldn't win a game, and that can happen in this league," he said. "We're on a good run but we just need to keep the momentum going and keep picking up the points.

"Our objective has always been to get above the team in front of us. There is a long way to go, a lot of tough games ahead.

Kebe's performance also left an impression on his manager, Brian McDermott. "Jimmy is becoming phenomenal in the air," he said. "I was so pleased for him because he such a brave player both physically and mentally."

Match facts

Goals: Reading Kebe 7, 85. Sunderland Gardner pen 29. Substitutions: Rea Le Fondre 6 (McCleary, 65), Blackman (Pogrebnyak, 72). Sun Rose 6 (Larsson, HT), McClean 6 (Vaughan, 62), Graham (Sessegnon, 80).

Bookings: Rea McAnuff. Sun Gardner, Bramble, Sessegnon. Man of the match Kebe. Match rating 6/10. Possession: Rea 49%. Sun 51%.

Attempts on target: Rea 3. Sun 6.

Referee L Mason (Lancashire).

Attendance 23,829.