New Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy is looking forward to a meeting with one of League One's 'giants' when Sunderland visit Spotland Stadium this weekend.
Barry-Murphy was appointed the Dale's permanent manager earlier this week, after taking temporary charge following the sacking of Keith Hill at the start of March.
Rochdale haven't lost since Hill's departure, with Barry-Murphy picking up eight points out of 12 as caretaker boss.
Despite their recent revival, the Dale still remain in the relegation zone on goal difference, yet Barry-Murphy wants his side to embrace the remaining fixtures - starting with to visit of Sunderland.
“It's a huge day for the club and a great day for all our supporters and everyone connected with the club,” said the Rochdale boss when asked about this weekend’s clash.
“It's symbolic of what I always thought we were as a club, going up against one of the bigger teams and we've had some amazing days, at our own ground and away, against the giants of this division.
“The feedback I’ve been getting from supporters around the town is these are the games that they love and they want to see their team represent what they are on any given day.”
After losing four games in a row, and conceding 12 goals in the process, Rochdale have found some much-needed resilience in recent weeks.
The Dale have conceded just three times in their last four fixtures under Barry-Murphy, and the Irishman hopes his side can produce a similar performance against Sunderland.
Still a meeting with the Black Cats will represent a step up in quality for Rochdale, who have faced Gillingham, Scunthorpe, Oxford and Shrewsbury in recent weeks.
“We’ll be going to try and play the way we’ve been playing over the last three or four games, to put our imprint on the game and try and cause them as many problems as we can and just be true to ourselves,” added Barry-Murphy.
“We’ll be desperate to win and our lads will be thriving to win and do everything they can to win and it’s important to perform the way that we want to perform and I think we will."