Beleaguered Reading boss Brian McDermott is hoping for a January windfall as he attempts to drag the club out of relegation trouble.
Last night’s 3-0 defeat at Sunderland left the Royals with just nine points from their first 16 top-flight games and six points adrift of safety.
Injuries have not helped the promoted club’s attempts to grab a foothold in the higher division, and McDermott is urging owner Anton Zingarevich to fund a winter recruitment drive.
He said: “The club made a decision in the summer – we didn’t invest in the summer.
“We all know that January is a difficult window. We are fighting a battle here.
“That will be down to the owner to see where we are at. I believe we need to do that.
“We are in such a stronger position financially, whatever the outcome of this season is, than we were two years ago, a year ago.
“We want to get out of this, so we have to do everything we can in our power to get out of it, and if that includes January, my view is that we have to do what we have got to do.”
Reading showed little sign of rescuing themselves without further help on Wearside as Martin O’Neill’s men raced into a third-minute lead and never looked like surrendering it.
James McClean fired the home side ahead after Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici failed to clear Adam Johnson’s corner, and when Steven Fletcher – back in the side after an ankle injury – cleverly turned Danny Rose’s 28th-minute cross home, the points were close to being secured.
Stephane Sessegnon eventually made sure in stoppage time,when he collected Carlos Cuellar’s ball out of defence and rounded Federici to ensure a first league victory against 11 men since March.
O’Neill said: “I am delighted to have won, naturally, and there’s a sense of relief too that we have done that. It was good to win the game.”
The win lifted spirits at the Stadium of Light enormously ahead of a difficult run of fixtures including Saturday’s trip to Manchester United and a visit to Southampton before champions Manchester City head for Wearside.
He said: “It’s the winning of football games. It doesn’t matter about performances.
“We had a really excellent second-half performance against Norwich which yielded nothing – although you might say in the first half, we probably didn’t deserve it – and we showed a lot of commitment against Chelsea here.
“But you can talk until you are blue in the face, you have to win some football matches, and it’s definitely just a great old feeling.
“Of course, we have got tough times ahead at this minute, far from anything being clear.
“It might have lifted us a couple of places in the league, but it’s the points on the board that are essential, and we have got a really tough time between now and New Year.
“We will just have to try to see it through if we can, but that was a boost tonight anyway for us.”