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Rochdale   v   Coventry City
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 22nd February 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Dale v Tranmere Rovers
Thursday, 13th Feb 2020 09:00 by Chaff

Rochdale take on Tranmere Rovers in a huge match at Spotland this weekend providing the weather allows the game to go ahead. A win will see Rochdale increase the gap to the relegation zone to 13 points. A defeat will have us all worrying again!

Date: Saturday 15th February 2020
Kick-off: 15:00:pm
Venue: Crown Oil Arena

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THE DALE:
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Well, Tuesday was a bit crap wasn’t it. An awful performance ended with a 3-0 defeat away at Sunderland. We draw a line under that, and we move on with Saturday’s game firmly in focus.

A win will ease any relegation worries and put us 13 points ahead of Tranmere Rovers who have been awful this season but defeat will see panic set in again around Dale and will surely see the atmosphere turn a little around the ground, two days before the fans forum, less than a week after the latest set of accounts were published. They made pretty depressing reading.

The game up at the Stadium of Light saw McShane and Rathbone miss out. Rathbone had picked up a knock at Doncaster but should be fit for this weekend while McShane was probably rested to avoid him playing two games in a week. Rhys Norrington-Davies was forced off at Sunderland having picked up a dead leg but should hopefully be back for the Tranmere game. Calvin Andrew and Callum Camps still miss out through injury. It would certainly help to have Camps back in the side. His goals and assists have been missed while he’s been out of the side.

Ian Henderson has got within sight of the all time goalscoring record currently held by Reg Jenkins, and with it looking more and more likely that Hendo may move on this summer when his contract ends, he will be desperate to claim that record before then.

Matt Lund returned to the club on deadline day but has failed to impress in his first two games. That said, we know how good Lund can be, so hopefully it’s just a case of getting back up to speed.

Picking up points against Tranmere is absolutely huge as well when you look at the fixtures as Dale have Coventry, Portsmouth and Rotherham coming up and our record against the teams flying high has been awful this season whereas we’ve done well against the teams around us so here’s hoping.

The weather may yet play a part and even put the game at risk. We’ve had Storm Ciara, Storm Dennis, Storm Trooper, Lance Storm, Manchester Storm, Stormzy and any other big of bad weather that we seem to insist on naming these days and the pitch will have taken a hammering.
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THE OPPOSITION:
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How long ago does it feel since we went to Prenton Park on the opening day of the season and played them off the park? A 3-2 scoreline that massively flattered Tranmere as we footballed them to death for 85 minutes. That seems an age ago, but Tranmere’s season hasn’t improved a great deal.

Tranmere sit in the last relegation spot above Keith Hill’s Bolton and Southend United on just 23 points from 30 games. Their goal difference is pretty horrendous as well at -25. They lost the goal scorer that got them promoted in the summer in the form of James Norwood and just haven’t been able to replace him. They’ve been heavily reliant on the likes of David Perkins in midfield who is closer to 40 than 30 now and while there have been glimpses of quality from Morgan Ferrier but precious little else.

While their league form has been awful, they have had cup successes like us and had a good FA Cup which saw them reach the 4th Round. Victories against Wycombe and Chichester saw them rewarded with a Premier League club in the third round and they managed to turn round a 3-0 scoreline to take Watford to a replay in the last 15 minutes of their game at Vicarage Road to set up a replay at Prenton Park and low and behold they managed to knock out the Premier League side in the replay to set up a tie with Manchester United. They were put to the sword at home to Manchester United on what was an awful pitch. They were dismantled 6-0 by United, a game in which even Jesse Lingard scored. Our game with United back in September was somewhat closer but that also seems like a distant memory now.

The win against Watford on penalties is actually the only game Tranmere have won in 2020 and even then, it wasn’t in the normal time or extra time so technically they’re still waiting for a win this year.

Their last win came in December before Christmas with a 1-0 win over Wimbledon, but they’ve only won one other game since November of 2019 which is a pretty horrific run of form.

Tranmere fans will probably be resigned to League Two football but a win against Dale will give them a glimmer of hope that they can produce the great escape.

They’ve made efforts in the January window to improve the squad and managed to bring in former Bury players James Vaughan and Peter Clarke but whether it will be enough remains to be seen.

_________ _______________________________________________________________
FORM BOOK - LAST 5 GAMES:
________________________
Rochdale:
Sunderland (a) - LOSS
Doncaster Rovers (a) - DRAW
Shrewsbury Town (h) – WIN
MK Dons (a) – LOSS
Gillingham (h) - DRAW

Tranmere Rovers:
Bristol Rovers (h) – DRAW
Portsmouth (h) – LOSS
Doncaster Rovers (h) – LOSS
Bolton Wanderers (a) –LOSS
Sunderland (a) - LOSS

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HEAD TO HEAD:
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ROCHDALE - 39
DRAWS – 24
TRANMERE- 58

03 Aug 2019 – Tranmere Rovers 2-3 Rochdale - League One
20 Mar 2012 – Rochdale 0-2 Tranmere – League One
17 Jan 2012 – Tranmere Rovers 0-0 Rochdale - League One
01 Feb 2011 – Tranmere Rovers 1-1 Rochdale - League One
01 Jan 2011 – Rochdale 3-2 Tranmere Rovers - League One

Photo: Action Images



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