Bookmakers reacted to Tuesday night's 1-0 loss at Villa Park by making Reading favourites for the drop.
And they now face a monumental December, including potential relegation six-pointers at Sunderland and Southampton mixed in with daunting fixtures against Manchester United this Saturday (5.30pm ko), Arsenal and current champions Manchester City.
The pressure is steadily mounting on McDermott to turn Reading's fortunes around and it is believed the 51-year-old will attempt to bring in at least two new players in the New Year.
However, he will not be given a bumper transfer kitty by Russian owner Anton Zingarevich and may be forced to dip in to the loan market.
Speaking exclusively to the Reading Chronicle, McDermott said: "We think we can do some business in January, but there isn't a lot of money. There aren't large sums of money floating around the club, regardless of what people might think."
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