After a hard-fought 1-0 victory at home to Swindon Town on Tuesday evening, the lads welcome 23rd place Rochdale to the Stadium of Light for a 3pm kick off. I was joined by Dale fan and podcaster Ryan Lockett, here's what he had to say...
"We had a spell of scoring, and conceding, for fun in December and January but we showed up in February and, whilst we didn't concede many, we didn't score many either. I think we sat back against the teams around us. We were pretty open but we've sat in and our striker, Stephen Humphries, has got eight this season, but has sat thirty yards from the goal line for thirty minutes of a game. We try to play counter-attacking football but you can't do that without pace in the team."
"4-4-2, which I'm not a fan of at all. We play two up front, but we've only got one fit striker. I think we've only got one fit midfielder in Morely, so expect to see a centre-back in midfield as well. If you play slow across the back, we've got players who can press. Stephen Humphries can be dangerous if you can get players around him and good service to him. He's a strong, powerful lad with a good strike on him, he can take players on as well. Kwadwo Baah, who's been rumoured with teams like Man City. He's a skilful, quick winger with a shot on him. He caused problems for Charlton. Aaron Morley has got a bit of a ping on him- sometimes he can hit a 20p piece but sometimes he can put it into row Z."
As for ourselves, Chris Maguire is staking a claim for a start with two assists and a goal from his last three appearances, all of which were off the bench. With his inconsistent tendencies, however, a smart decision may be to continue to bring him off the bench as games come to a close to utilise his opportunistic traits.
Considering the Dale currently sit 23rd in the table, having scored a single goal and picked up two points from their last six games, it would take something very unexpected to beat us in our recent form. I'll predict a 2-0 Sunderland win.