'They have as much to play for as we do': Jack Ross wary of new-look Rochdale

Sunderland manager Jack Ross
Sunderland manager Jack Ross
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Jack Ross is wary of Rochdale as they fight for their League One lives.

Sunderland make the trip to the Spotland Stadium tomorrow to face a side who sit 23rd in the table.

The Dale, calling time on Keith Hill's six-year spell last month, appointed caretaker boss Brian Barry-Murphy permanently on Thursday- and Ross expects to see them resurged.

He was also keen to point out Rochdale have a lot to play for, just like the Black Cats, who are breathing down the neck of Barnsley in the automatic promotion race.

Ross said: "There's a lot of parallels with Wednesday evening because of where the opposition find themselves and the type of ground we're going to.

"But I suppose Wednesday was slightly different - we'd been there before but it's another new ground for us to visit.

"I think add in the fact they've appointed Brian as their new manager. He had the job on an intern basis but it changes the dynamics as well.

"The reality is, we're playing a team that has as much to play for as we do at this stage in the season.

"We need to provide a very similar performance to what we did on Wednesday evening."

The bottom pack of League One is proving to be just as exciting as the race for promotion.

Rochdale, on 42 points, are on the same number of points as AFC Wimbledon, Walsall and Southend while three teams rank on 44 points.

Ross, as the table suggests, says there isn't a lot between the teams in the third-tier.

He added: "I have sensed during the season that there hasn't been a great deal between clubs across the whole league.

"There's been no team that has looked like it's so much weaker than the rest of them."