Sunderland are riding the crest of a wave right now and they are also closing down the top two in League One as they seek promotion to the Championship.
Black Cats fans were probably resigned to another play off push and no automatic promotion under the leadership of Phil Parkinson, but a change was made in late 2020 and in came Lee Johnson.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing under the former Bristol City man, with a few losses here and there and quite a few draws, but the Sunderland side seem to have clicked recently, and they sit just five points off Hull City in second place with two games in hand.
And they will be expected to win tomorrow as strugglers Rochdale come to Wearside on the back of a seven-game winless run, with the Manchester-based side sitting in 23rd position with just Wigan Athletic below them.
Sunderland though are struggling with a lot of injury issues, and Lee Johnson has addressed them all in his press conference today.
Experienced midfielder Grant Leadbitter dislocated his shoulder last week, and Johnson described the injury as a ‘major trauma to everything’ in that area, but it doesn’t look like he will be out that long as it’s a playable injury with the right strapping.
Sunderland quiz: Was it Aiden McGeady or Charlie Wyke who have done these 15 things?
January signing Ross Stewart is also back in training as he nears a Black Cats debuts, whilst some welcome news for Sunderland fans is that young left-back Denver Hume is close to being involved once again, having missed over three months of action.
Centre-backs Tom Flanagan and Bailey Wright are also ‘not a million miles away‘ according to Johnson, and considering they are seriously lacking in centre-backs that will also be welcome news to Sunderland fans.
PREDICTED SUNDERLAND XI V ROCHDALE (4-2-3-1): Burge; Power, Sanderson, O’Nien, Vokins; Scowen, Winchester; Jones, Gooch, McGeady; Wyke.