Six things: Sunderland manager's big vote of confidence plus Max Power conundrum for Coventry City test
Here's what we learned from the victory.
Josh Maja helps soften Charlie Wyke blow
Josh Maja may have been disappointed to have been subbed after just 69 minutes given he was on a hat-trick but he’d already done his fair share.
Maja scored goals No.6 and 7 of a superb campaign, surpassing everyone’s expectations as he continues to help soften the blow of Charlie Wyke’s knee injury.
With Jerome Sinclair yet to hit top form following injury, the pressure is falling on 19-year-old Maja. And he is thriving. Clinical in the penalty area, Maja is a major talent.
Chris Maguire's flawless display
Chris Maguire was dropped for the defeat at Burton Albion but he has responded in the perfect manner.
A stunning goal when he made it off the bench at Burton followed by a man-of-the-match performance against Rochdale.
Maguire’s performance was flawless. His workrate and endeavour is to be admired but he brought real quality to Sunderland’s play in the final third, his link-up with Maja and the other attacking players superb.
Jack Ross' big vote of confidence in Denver Hume
Jack Ross gave Denver Hume a huge vote of confidence, recalling him in place of the more experienced Bryan Oviedo.
Ross was no doubt regretting dropping Hume for the trip to Burton, Oviedo clearly still feeling the effects of his international duty excursions.
Hume has impressed in every game this season and provided his first assist in the win over Rochdale. He has blossomed and given Ross a real selection headache in the process.
Jon McLaughlin shows his class
Sunderland’s goalkeeping unit bore the brunt of significant criticism last year and deservedly so following a nightmare season between the sticks.
Jon McLaughlin has since arrived and his reassuring presence has been a big plus.
He enjoyed his best game of the season against Rochdale and deserved a clean sheet, especially after a superb double save in the second half.
It wasn’t to be as Rochdale scored a consolation but McLaughlin can take pride in his performance.
Jack Ross close to his best starting line-up?
Jack Ross continues to tinker with his Sunderland starting line-up but he is closing in on his best starting XI.
Ross made four changes for the visit of Keith Hill’s side, one of them forced upon him following Wyke’s knee injury.
Oviedo, Sinclair and Matthews all dropped with Hume, Maguire, Tom Flanagan and McGeouch recalled.
With little reason to change it, Ross must be thinking about remaining unchanged for only the second time for the trip to Coventry.
Jack Ross' Max Power conundrum
Max Power is available Saturday following a three-game ban (four if you count the Checkatrade Trophy) when Sunderland travel to Coventry City for the televised lunchtime kick-off.
Whether he’s recalled will be one of the tactical dilemmas focusing the mind of Jack Ross.
Lee Cattermole was excellent against Rochdale, with Dylan McGeouch alongside him improving as the game wore on. His quality in possession showed as Sunderland took control.
Sunderland have, though, missed Power’s desire to get further forward. One to ponder for Ross.