Brian Barry-Murphy's side were favourites for relegation in pre-season, but three victories from their opening eight leave them just four points off the play-offs in a tight League One table.
The Dale were victorious last time out, beating Shrewsbury Town 2-1 away from home.
As for Sunderland, they suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday after a sobering 3-1 loss to Portsmouth. Phil Parkinson will be hoping for a big response from his side in a fixture where they are heavy favourites.
Rochdale have no fresh injury worries coming off the back of their weekend win, meaning Barry-Murphy has a fit and available side to choose from.
Sunderland will be without Luke O'Nien after he was sent off against Portsmouth. The wing-back is serving a one-match suspension following his second bookable offence.
Rochdale (4-5-1): Bazunu; Keohane, Roberts, O'Connell, Bola; Newby, Ryan, Morley, Rathbone, Lund; Beesley.
Sunderland (3-5-2): Burge; Willis, Wright, Flanagan; Gooch, Dobson, Power, Scowen, Hume; O'Brien, Wyke.
Ones to watch
Rochdale's one to watch is their midfielder, Matty Lund. The 29-year old was instrumental in Dale's strong start and especially at the weekend. In Shropshire, he won five tackles and six interceptions, the most on the pitch by far. His tenacity and work rate is imperative if his side are to take anything from the game, give Sunderland's expansive and stretched midfield.
The forward has previously been criticised for his poor goalscoring record in a Sunderland shirt however, he looks to have found his feet and find the back of the net. He is also integral to Sunderland pressing from the front, which could cause Rochdale's slow build-up play some issues.
Last time they met
These two sides last met back in February 2020 when Sunderland were 3-0 victors at the Stadium of Light.
Lynden Gooch scored a brace for the home side alongside an own goal from Eoghan O'Connell, securing the win. The game came at a time when Sunderland's form was improving just prior to the season came to an abrupt ending. Meanwhile, Rochdale were heading in the wrong direction whilst fighting to sustain their League One status.
How to watch
Fans can watch Rochdale vs Sunderland in two different ways. It is available via the iFollow app on the Rochdale service, or on the Sunderland official website.