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Dale v Spurs match preview
Saturday, 17th Feb 2018 18:23 by Col

Gary Mabbutt lifts one of the things in the picture with the big sticky out bits at the side. Read on for our preview of Dale v Spurs.

This Sunday, it's Hilly vs Pochettino, it's Cannon vs Alli, it's Hendo vs Vertonghen, its Camps v Dembele, it's McNulty vs Kane. Bottom of the Dale take on Champions League Tottenham Hotspur at a sell out Spotland with millions watching around the globe. Oh I wish everyday was like Sunday.

When the draw was made, I reckoned most Dale supporters saw this as meaning Millwall were going to beat us (or at the least see us kicked out the Cup). Forget the law of averages, Chaos Theory, simple mathematics, the one golden rule of FA Cup draws is that whoever knocks us out gets a decent draw in the next round. It's just fact, and we all know, irrespective of whether anything can actually back it up.

But one Ian Henderson goal later, and all of a sudden, we have a sell out Spotland, a pitch thats been debated in the Tabloids and the Tabloid radio, a duck wearing Dale colours on TV more times than Ant and Dec, and the eyes of the nation looking at us on Sunday afternoon as they finish their roasties and yorkshire puds. This dog is having its day.

If we're putting this game in context, it's probably as tough as we've played. By our reckoning, Liverpool were 4th in the PL when we headed there in 1996, and we think that Manchester United were top of the league when we went there in 1986 but with English football being such an international affair these days, it's hardy controversial to reckon that Spurs will be the best that any Dale side has ever come up against.

There's something apt about it being Spurs in the FA Cup. For growing up in the 1980's, the FA Cup felt like Spurs' domain. We all know Liverpool were the king of England and all that, and Spurs would always flatter to deceive but when it came to the Cup, they knew what they were doing, and we got to watch them from 7am on the first Saturday in May each year.

There was the Ricky Villa replay goal which robbed Steve Mackenzie of his place in the history books, the Gazza goal in the Semi Finals, the last great final from the old Wembley in 1987 when Coventry beat them. We seemed to have Chas and Dave on constant rotation with little Ossie popping up every now and then singing about winning the cup for Tottingham in every year that ends in one.

As for the game itself, the only previous time your had Rochdale and Spurs in the same sentence was if you were singing Mike Harding at the local karaoke (which is probably quite a niche market).

Do we stand a chance given the quality of opposition? Probably not, but there's something already romantic about the team bottom of Division Three taking on a team fresh from taking on Europe's best in midweek. The headlines will write themselves. Based on that, 20-1 has got to be worth a quid or two.

In terms of team news, well as always, there's not much coming out of Spotland. Calvin Andrew looks set to miss out after a few weeks of playing through the pain barrier. Aside from that, we've got the loanees that we can't play meaning we'll be without Billy Knott, Scott Wiseman, Dobre and Sam Hart. Stephen Humphrys will be available having not being able to feature against Millwall in the previous round.

As for Spurs, no one will really have a clue before the team sheets come out or we get featured on that little yellow bar on the bottom of SSN. Suggestions seem to be that Harry Kane is set to miss out after picking up a knock against Juve in midweek but let's not kid ourselves that this is a major blow for them and they'll arrive at San Spotland in a weakened state.

If you've not got a ticket, then it'll be pretty much available to watch where you are. BBC are showing it but from there's at least half a dozen countries I've never even heard of that are showing the game live . We look forward to welcoming DjibouitiDale joining the messageboard in the next few days.

Of course, come Sunday evening, all we may be left is a few niceties from Gary Lineker, a half-half scarf lying in the gutter and whispers of a home game with MK Dons on Wednesday evening being the bread and butter of our season, whilst lamenting 2018's equivalent of that Peter Ward moment or complaining about this year's Uriah Rennie.

But you never know. Keith Hill has already pulled off the impossible more times than is humanly possible. Most promotions? Tick. Highest every league position? Tick. Best ever FA Cup run?

Get two free £10 bets by opening a new account at William Hill. Place an initial bet of a minimum of £10 and William Hill will give you two £10 bets. You must enter the promotional code ''F20'' when signing up as a new customer.

Photo: Action Images



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