Mike Dodds has challenged Sunderland's players to replicate their performance against Cardiff City when they face Blackburn Rovers after ending a poor run of form.

The Black Cats had lost six of their last seven matches, drawing the other, before the international break. After their season had ebbed into mid-table obscurity, there was anger and apathy within the fan base.

But a 2-0 win at Cardiff on Good Friday has renewed spirits around the North East ahead of Rovers' visit to the Stadium of Light. Interim boss Dodds has challenged the group to ensure that 'lighter feeling' continues.

"There were two messages to the group. It’s not been an easy period for myself or anyone because of the results," Dodds said.

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"But what they have given me is they’ve completely bought into the processes and every single day they’ve turned up and bought into what we’re trying to do, and I thank them for that and have reiterated how important that is going forward.

"The second bit was being a little bit tough with them in terms of making sure we get a positive result on Monday because the reality is come Monday night if the result isn’t positive, everyone has forgotten about this. 

"So we’ve got to make sure we can make that a back-to-back feeling for everyone, so I’ve put a little bit of pressure on them and that we hit similar standards and levels on Monday.

"I’ve tried to stay really balanced looking at the performance and what the group are trying to do and what we’re asking them to do: are they trying to execute it? Fortunately today, things went our way.

"I’m happier for the group because we’ve got a really good group and I’m happier for the fans because I think a result makes everything feel a little bit lighter, but from my perspective, I’m quite balanced."