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Rochdale manager Keith Hill opens up on side's physical style ahead of Sunderland clash

Rochdale manager Keith Hill.
Rochdale manager Keith Hill.

Sunderland should expect a physical battle when Rochdale visit the Stadium of Light next weekend.

Keith Hill's side moved up to 13th in League One after a 3-0 home win over Gillingham on Saturday.

And after the game Hill admitted his side may not play the prettiest football, but he is only concerned about the result.

“It’s the perfect result,” said Hill in his post-match interview.

“It’s up to me to gather as many points as I possibly can. Is it the way I want to play football? No. Is it the best way to beat an opponent? Previous history would suggest so.

"You’ve got to win football matches, and we did the business today. The players took ownership of the opponent and if we had done that against Scunthorpe then we would have won."

Sunderland will have to keep an eye on Rochdale striker Ian Henderson, who scored his first career hat-trick at the age of 33 on Saturday.

Hill also deployed two towering forwards out wide, Calvin Andrew and Aaron Wilbraham, to cause the opposition problems.

Rochdale's pragmatic approach meant Gillingham striker Tom Eaves, who has scored four times in League One this campaign, had a quiet afternoon.

And Hill was delighted with how his players aquitted themselves.

“The two big lads playing out wide played really well and we knew we could get in that way," added Hill.

"We really needed to stop them going through Tom Eaves, and I thought we were excellent at doing that. I thought there were great performances out there today - some leaders developing and young players. We had quite a young back four.”