Who are Sunderland playing in League One tomorrow? A look at Rochdale as Jack Ross praises Brian Barry-Murphy
Jack Ross’ men head to Spotland to face Rochdale tomorrow after an impressive win over potential promotion rivals Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light last Saturday.
Here, we take a look at what the Black Cats can expect.
What’s the form coming into the game?
Sunderland and Rochdale have only faced each other three times in the Wearside club’s 140-year history.
The Black Cats boast two League One wins - both coming last season - and a 2016 Leasing.com Trophy draw over their weekend opponents.
Like Sunderland, Dale have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season, taking the same amount of points - 5 - as Ross’ side.
Who is Rochdale’s danger man?
League One aficionados will know the name Ian Henderson well.
The 34-year-old ex-winger turned striker has scored 20, 13, 15, 13 and 22 League One goals in his last five campaigns.
Formerly of Norwich City, Henderson has got clever feet and is capable of the spectacular with his unique brand of lobbed finishes.
He also scored against Sunderland last season as Ross’ men came from behind to win 2-1 with an 89th minute George Honeyman equaliser.
And their weak links?
Brian Barry-Murphy’s defence is a fairly new mix of players with Rhys Norrington Davies on loan from Sheffield United and Tyler Magloire borrowed from Blackburn Rovers.
Stalwart Jim McNulty, 34, has been with the club since 2015 but is ageing and loanee goalkeeper Robert Sanchez can also get carried away which could be to Sunderland’s benefit.
What has Jack Ross been saying about Rochdale ahead of the game?
Well, Ross was in a good mood during his pre-match presser following Sunderland’s win over Portsmouth, and found time to praise his opposite number ahead of the game.
Speaking to media, Ross said: “They’ve started this season well and have probably continued positive momentum from last year.
“Brian took the job in challenging circumstances, with the club in danger of falling out of the league, and he’s kept them up.
“He’s maybe flown under the radar slightly, in terms of him being a young manager doing his job well.
“They have a certain way of playing. They do try and play football, it’s a risk-reward for them but I do believe it’ll be a challenge going there tomorrow,” he concluded.