Sunderland secured another comfortable victory after recording a 2-0 win over Rochdale at the Stadium Of Light.
That result keeps the Black Cats in fourth position while putting them within five points of the automatic promotion spots with two games in hand.
Lee Johnson made two changes for this one as Aiden O’Brien returned to the starting line-up alongside Ollie Younger, replacing the injury Lynden Gooch and Josh Scowen who drops to the bench.
As for Brian Barry-Murphy’s side there was just one alteration as Kwadwo Baah replaced Alex Newby.
It was Sunderland who opened the scoring inside seven minutes when a corner from Aiden McGeady found the head of Dion Sanderson who headed home at the back post.
They then broke through again with Jordan Jones who saw his low effort blocked by Gavin Bazunu in the visiting goal.
Rochdale grew into the game after that and passed the ball well during the first period.
They carved out a great opening when Kwadwo Baah let fly in the area only to be blocked by a wonderful last-gasp challenge from Luke O’Nien.
The Dale had another opportunity shortly after the half-hour mark when a fizzed ball into the box found Jimmy Keohane who sent his shot over the bar from point-blank range.
But Sunderland made the game much more comfortable for themselves when Jordan Jones fired a wonderful cross into the box which was headed home from Charlie Wyke.
Rochdale did threaten at the end of the first half but a last-ditch clearance from Dion Sanderson preserved the home side’s lead at the break.
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The second half got off to a steady start with Lee Johnson introducing Chris Maguire and Josh Scowen into the mix however it was Rochdale who had the first effort when a quick free-kick found Stephen Humphrys who forced Lee Burge into a good save low to his right.
With little to speak of for long spells Maguire almost capped of the performance when he caught Bazunu out with a quick free-kick from range that almost found the top corner from all of 35 yards.
Wyke then had a chance to get another goal in the dying stages but after rising highest his header went over the crossbar.
Rochdale did push for a late consolation as Conor Shaughnessy forced Burge into a late save, however the visitors rarely looked like taking the three points away from the Black Cats.
It may not have been a perfect display, but the show rolls on for Lee Johnson’s side who are now breathing down the necks of the top two.