Jim McNulty hopes he will still be Rochdale manager next season

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Dave Thompson/PA Archive

Jim McNulty boosted his chances of landing the Rochdale job on a full-time basis with a convincing 4-1 win over Sutton.

Dale, already relegated from the Football League, raced into a two-goal lead with Devante Rodney scoring after eight minutes and Ethan Brierley adding a second on 25 minutes.

Dale’s cause was boosted further still four minutes later when Sutton goalkeeper Brad House – making his full Football League debut – was sent off for a challenge on Tyrese Sinclair just outside the area.

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Sutton’s 10 men pulled one back via Enzio Boldewijn in the 38th minute, but Dale made the game safe five minutes into the second period when Jimmy Keohane headed home Owen Dodgson’s corner.

Rodney wrapped things up with his second in the 56th minute to leave interim boss McNulty with a record of 11 points from his seven games at the helm.

“I have hopes that I’ll be here next season, but that’s in the hands of the football club,” said McNulty.

“I’m really pleased with that performance, I felt it was the closest representation of what I am about as a manager that I’ve seen in my seven games.

“It’s not always an easy task facing a team down to 10 men. I thought we were excellent against 11 men.

“We were creating chances, we’d put them under stress and into a situation whereby they had a player sent off.

“If we’d have just played direct football into the 10 men that were behind the ball at that point, the extra man would have counted for nothing. It was important we were efficient with where our extra players were, move the ball and hurt them at the right time and I thought the players did that really well.

“The fact that we truly nullified Sutton, it shouldn’t be underestimated just how good a performance that was.”

Sutton boss Matt Gray said: “I was pleased with the way we’d started but then we lose the ball on our throw-in and get done for their first goal. We then get done on the counter-attack and find ourselves 2-0 down.

“So we’ve conceded two goals so uncharacteristic of us and what we are. We don’t concede those kind of goals.

“And then the sending off is not a sending off for me, he’s come out and there’s obviously contact and it’s a foul outside the box, but the lad who was through has kicked it out for a goal-kick, he’s not in on goal.

“After two sloppy goals and a decision I don’t agree with, we’re two down with 10 men.

“It was a good reaction from us, we scored a good goal and I was really pleased with our shape off the ball in the second half but we were wide open trying to get something out of the game, committing men forward and we find ourselves 4-1 down.”