"In the midst of the dale"
When the season looks to be on the verge of falling apart, what’s needed is a match against opponents currently on an even worse run, with a negative goal difference that makes ours look rosy … and in that spirit we welcome Keith Hill’s Rochdale side. One of four teams straddling the relegation line, Dale will no doubt be just as keen as us to get points on the board - and to that end they’ve signed striker Rekeil Pyke on loan from Huddersfield Town until the end of the season. (Ref: “What’s your name?” Rochdale captain: "Don’t tell him, Pyke") Rochdale’s current League One form:-
29 Dec Bradford City (H) Lost 0-4
1 Jan Doncaster Rovers (A) Lost 5-0
5 Jan Burton Albion (H) Lost 0-4
12 Jan Peterborough United (A) Lost 2-1
19 Jan Fleetwood Town (H) Drew 1-1
26 Jan Barnsley (A) Lost 2-1
Dean Keates’ activities in the January transfer window will have provided him with selection dilemmas everywhere on the pitch (except perhaps between the posts). The arrival of Cameron Norman, Omar Mussa, Scott Laird, Dan Scarr and Aramide Oteh heavily outweigh the one departure of Kieron Morris (with his mum). It will be interesting to see how this influx of talent is employed, and also to see how much emphasis is placed on assisting the goal machine that is Andy Cook.
Prediction? Every game that we play seems to attract the label “This is one we must win”, and this Rochdale fixture more than most. Having shored up our defence (hopefully) and up against a side with a goal difference of -25, this really should be a 3-0 home win…
Cook (2) and Jarvis on the score-sheet.