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Match Preview: Sunderland AFC v Rochdale AFC

Sunderland take on Rochdale tonight at the Stadium of Light, knowing that to be considered as serious title contenders they must win this game. Dale, however, are no mugs - so will we get the job done?

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Sunderland can further cement their place in the League One play-offs with a win over Rochdale. The Lads are in excellent form, losing just once in their last 11 games, and a further three points against one of the league’s struggling sides is a must. Rochdale have never beaten Sunderland in their long history, and continuing that tradition on Tuesday evening would be very much welcome.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Steve Parkin Says...

It’s the business end of the season now. We’re getting there but every game is vital and it starts again tomorrow night. Saturday is gone now and we’ve got to move on and continue picking up points.

They’re [Rochdale] a very good footballing team and they’ve got dangerous forwards. They’re a definite threat, a definite goal threat. We have to respect them and get the crowd right behind us because I don’t think it will be an easy game.

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Team News

There are no fresh injury concerns for Sunderland but Phil Parkinson will have a decision to make as to whether give a few key players a rest. Joel Lynch is still out after being wellied at Portsmouth, so Tom Flanagan is expected to keep his place in the backline.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

View From The Opposition

Aside from delivering the absolute hilarity of 104-year-old Aaron Wilbraham scoring a last-minute equaliser against Newcastle, Rochdale are having the type of season they have every season. After a fairly positive start, eight defeats from nine during November and December, plonked Rochdale in the familiar position of a relegation battle.

Fun fact, Paul McShane now plays for the Dale and full-back Luke Matheson is an actual child.

Rochdale AFC v Newcastle United - FA Cup Third Round Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images


Match Stats

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Kick-off: 7.45pm
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Current position: 18th
Last season position: 15th (League One)

Last 5 results:

SAFC

L1) Ipswich Town (H) 1-0
(L1) Portsmouth (A) 0-2
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (A) 1-0
(L1) Doncaster Rovers (H) 0-0
(L1) MK Dons (A) 1-0

RAFC

(L1) Doncaster Rovers (A) 1-1
(L1) Shrewsbury Town (H) 1-0
(L1) MK Dons (A) 1-2
(L1) Gillingham (H) 2-2
(L1) Wycombe Wanderers (A) 1-2

Top goalscorers (in all competitions)

14 - Ian Henderson
8 - Callum Camps
5 - Aaron Morley
4 - Aaron Wilbraham
3 - Stephen Dooley

Newcastle United v Rochdale AFC - FA Cup Third Round: Replay Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Last Time We Met

When Rochdale made their maiden voyage to Wearside in the sunny days of 2018, they were served an almighty walloping by the sexy young bucks of Sunderland AFC circa 2018.

A first half blitz had the Lads 3-0 up thanks to Josh Maja (God I miss you, Josh) and Lynden Gooch before adding another in the second half. Rochdale did get a little treat for their long journey back, a consolation from Matt Done.

Sunderland v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images