LEE Cattermole is frustrated that Sunderland have hit form too late to prevent a likely drop to League One.

The Black Cats skipper headed what looked like the winning goal at Reading, only to see his side concede another late equaliser to make it 2-2.

It was the third straight draw in the last five fixtures, a run that has only seen defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Easter Monday.

The probability of relegation remains high though, and Cattermole believed a similar run of form earlier would have boosted survival hopes.

“I feel like we should be out of the bottom three. The last five performances we have done everything but win the games,” he said.

“We have dominated but unfortunately a couple of sloppy goals, or soft goals, or whatever you want to say, we are not keeping clean sheets and it is killing us.

“I have said it for five or six years – it takes time and that is why we always finish seasons stronger than we start them because we are changing so many players every year.

“We look like a team now. Imagine if this were October.”

Sunderland looked a positive side in the game at the Madejski, with Ashley Fletcher and Paddy McNair impressing.

However, with a Yann Kermorgant header denying a second away win this year, Sunderland are bottom with a six-point gap from safety.

While a team threatened with demotion often looks lacklustre and lacking in positivity, Cattermole believes this is not the case with his side.

“We have drawn a game today and you are going off disappointed but you have enjoyed it,” he added.

“That is frustrating because you have enjoyed being out there playing. And that hasn’t always been the case this season.

“It looks like we have set standards and we are matching them every week.”

With Burton travelling to the Stadium of Light on Saturday, a game that is likely to condemn at least one side to relegation, Cattermole believes his side simply have to get three points – and that may start a remarkable bid for survival.

“It is a massive game. We win that, you never know,” he said.

“We are not going to stop fighting.

“We have a bit of pride and character and every time we go out on that pitch we are representing not only ourselves but your family and stuff like that, so you need to make sure you do your best every time.”

Meanwhile, Reading defender Liam Moore has backed Sunderland to return to the Championship should the Black Cats find themselves in League One next season.

The 25-year old cleared a Callum McManaman effort off the line in the first half, and felt their increasingly likely stay in League One will be short.

“Let’s not get it twisted, they’ve got some very good players, they created chances and it would be a shame if they do go down, because they are a massive club – I think they’ll bounce back,” he said.