Sunderland AFC news: Team news as Mike Dodds delivers Leeds United verdict ahead of Elland Road match

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Sunderland interim boss Mike Dodds spoke to the media ahead the side’s Championship match against Leeds United at Elland Road.

Sunderland are preparing for their Championship match against Leeds United at Elland Road - and interim head coach boss Mike Dodds held his pre-match press conference today.

The Black Cats were held to a goalless draw against Bristol City on Saturday, with five league games remaining this season. Leeds are still in the hunt for automatic promotion but missed the chance to move top of the table when they were beaten 2-1 by Coventry on Saturday.

Here’s what was said at the Academy of Light as Dodds spoke to the media:

Mike Dodds press conference

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Mike Dodds’ pre-match press conference ahead of Sunderland’s Championship match against Leeds United.

Dodds is set to speak to the media at 1:15pm, and we’ll have live updates from the Academy of LIght right here.

Stick around and refresh the page for the latest SAFC news.

We’ll start with the Sunderland team news.

Nazariy Rusyn (below) has missed the side’s last four matches with a calf injury and is a doubt for tomorrow’s match.

Dennis Cirkin, Elliot Embleton, Niall Huggins and Jenson Seelt remain sidelined, while Corry Evans isn’t expected to feature after suffering a minor setback in training.

We’ll get a further update from Dodds later today.

Frank Reid

Dodds on the head coach position

Here’s what Dodds said about the club’s head coach position last week, following the side’s 5-1 defeat against Blackburn:

"They're going through a recruitment process at the moment and my focus is on the team. With all due respect I was really hurt by Monday. I stand at the side of the pitch and take great pride in the way I set football teams up. That's the first time in a long, long time I've stood at the side of the pitch and been embarrassed. I have to correct that, so my focus has been purely on making sure we right some wrongs."

Frank Reid

How Leeds are shaping up

Leeds were beaten 2-1 by Coventry on Saturday, missing the chance to move into the automatic promotion places.

The loss at the CBS Arena was Leeds’ first in the league in 2024, following a run of 15 Championship games without a defeat. It leaves Daniel Farke’s men third in the table, a point behind Ipswich and two behind leaders Leicester.

Getty Images

Frank Reid

Dodds on knocks after the Bristol City game

“There are one or two we are having to manage a little bit. There is still 24 hours before the game so we’ll see how they react in the morning.”

“He’s not close. He was out on the grass running today but he’s not with the group. He’s still going to be a couple of weeks and will probably be touch and go whether he’s back for the Sheffield Wednesday game.”

Dodds on going to Elland Road

“It’s going to be a tough game. There are no easy games in this league. We are going to have to go there and be at 100 per cent. We are looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to it. These are the sorts of games I relish. Going out in front of 30,000 people at Elland Road, there are not many people who can say that. My mindset is to go and try to win the game, regardless of their record there.”

Dodds on Sunderland's previous win over Leeds

“Because the result was a positive result, the performance gets amplified. If you look at the second half against Leicester, we had the second youngest team in EFL history and Leicester didn’t have a shot at goal in the second half. I’m proud of pockets of whether it was my first time in charge or second time in charge.

“There are things when the dust settles I’ll need to reflect on and make sure next time here or somewhere else I will improve on certain things. I think I showed that from my first spell to my second spell that I am a very reflective person and am very critical of myself.”

“I’ve watched that game back. I think there were some stuff we did really well, there were some stuff I wasn’t happy with. That’s the type of person I am. I’m very critical of myself.”

Dodds asked if it feels there is nothing to play for

“Not for me personally. I’ve got five games. I think the players, we are demanding improvements every day. We are tweaking one or two things. They have got to execute those things and if they don’t execute those things internally there will be criticism of them.

“Internally we have a long-term ambition to be in the Premier League. If we decide these last five games are what they are, we are not going to get to where we want to get to.”

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