Sheffield Wednesday defender Chey Dunkley has suggested the Owls will look to “exploit” Sunderland when they welcome them to Hillsborough in League One this evening.
The Black Cats have lost twice on the bounce in the league and were hammered 5-1 by in-form Rotherham United on the weekend.
Wednesday, meanwhile, are unbeaten since early October but pressure is beginning to build on Darren Moore after a run of four draws on the bounce, which has seen them concede equalisers in the 80th minute or later on three occasions and left them five points outside the play-offs.
Speaking to Yorkshire Live, defender Chey Dunkley suggested that the players had a duty to Moore to turn things around and climb higher up the table.
He said: “We have to turn things around, not just for him [Moore], but for ourselves.
“The personnel on paper is a team that should be dominating League One.”
On the topic of tonight’s opponents, the centre-back acknowledged that Sunderland were a big club but had a warning for them.
He said: “They are a big club, just like us, and they will be coming over to Hillsborough and will be well backed.
“We need to look forward to it. It is another different challenge.
“I would like to think it will be a good footballing game.
“They are a good side. We will do our analysis and we will see how we can exploit them.”
Tonight’s game will be just the fourth meeting between the two sides since 2007 – a period that has seen one draw and two Wednesday wins.
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You have to love this confidence from Dunkley, who likely recognises that this is a good time to welcome the Black Cats to Hillsborough.
Johnson is known as a streaky manager and it seems as if Sunderland could be about to go on something of a losing run, having been beaten twice in a row in League One now.
No doubt Moore and his staff will have broken down the defeats to Charlton and Rotherham and will be looking to exploit the weaknesses they have found.
If they can do that, it could be just the sort of result the Owls need to kick-start their promotion push.