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Rochdale 3 v 1 Rotherham United
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 7th March 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Dale v Rotherham United
Wednesday, 4th Mar 2020 14:00 by Chaff

The fixtures don’t get any easier, do they? Dale are at home to Rotherham United this weekend with the visitors sitting pretty in second place while Dale creep nearer to the bottom three week by week.

Date: Saturday 7th March 2020
Kick-off: 15:00:pm
Venue: Crown Oil Arena
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THE DALE:
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A third successive defeat last week and a couple of results going against us have seen Dale slip towards that dreaded last relegation spot. Wimbledon winning deep in stoppage time against Gillingham saw them leapfrog Rochdale and they take on Bolton this weekend so could and should pull further away from us. Tranmere even won recently away at Shrewsbury to close the gap to us to 7 points with a game in hand. Their next few games see them take on struggling sides like Accrington, Blackpool, Lincoln and us so by the time we play them, they could be closer still.

God this is depressing writing this.

Dale have been easily beaten in their last three games. We were beaten 3-0 away at Portsmouth on Friday night. We played well until the second goal went in but missed key chances and lacked that little bit of quality at key times. We were beaten 2-1 by league leaders Coventry the week before that with goalkeeping errors playing a huge part in that defeat and we were soundly hammered by Sunderland previous to that 3-0 at the Stadium of Light. Our last point came nearly a month ago away at Doncaster, but it does seem like an age ago now.

Dale’s leading marksman, Ian Henderson has been going through a bit of a barren spell and hasn’t found the net since the defeat away at MK Dons at the end of January. Given that he’s the only goal threat we really have, when he doesn’t score, we struggle. Maybe a sign of life after Hendo which could start this summer.

Without Hendo, our main attacking options are Aaron Wilbraham, Calvin Andrew, Tyler Smith, Matty Done and Kwadwo Baah. Wilbraham has been an a decent enough back up and does a job and has scored 3 league goals but is hardly a long term option at 40 years old. Tyler Smith scored against Shrewsbury, but the others haven’t scored a single league goal this season. Callum Camps being back is a bonus and he’s the only other goal thread we seem to have in the squad.

Oliver Rathbone seems to miss as many games as he plays at the moment while Eoghan O’Connell went off injured against Coventry and missed the Pompey game. He’s been our player of the season and is a huge miss. Rhys Norrington-Davies also picked up an injury against Pompey and went off injured. Without him, we struggle to get any service from wide areas. Three key players we’ve missed recently and desperately need back ASAP. You can even add Tyler Smith to that list as he recently had a car accident in which he was uninjured but hasn’t played as a precaution. Obviously, Ryan McLaughlin has been out injured as well.

We’re expecting nothing from the weekend but we’re heading the wrong way and I’m now officially worried.


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THE OPPOSITION:
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Nobody really knows how but we actually beat Rotherham away from home this season. An Aaron Morley goal gave Dale a much-needed win at the New York Stadium earlier in the season when Rotherham were flying high but we’re not expecting a repeat of that. Well, we shouldn’t be anyway.

Rotherham lie in second place in League One just behind league leaders Coventry City. They’re unbeaten in 7 games as well but have drawn their last 2 games with MK Dons and Coventry. Their last win came away at Accrington on 22nd February.

They have a squad that looks to be full of quality with Freddie Ladapo scoring 17 goals so far this season and he’s been well backed up by Michael Smith and Matt Crooks, both into double figures for the season.

Dan Barlaser on loan from Newcastle has been impressive this season for the Millers while Dan Iversen has been in good form for them in net since joining on loan from Leicester City.

Rotherham have travelled well this season and have won the most away games of any side in the league with 10. They’ve only lost 4 times away from home as well. Only Peterborough have a better goal difference than Rotherham.

They were relatively quiet in the January transfer window having only brought in three players, Curtis Tilt from Blackpool for an undisclosed fee and the loan signings of Josh Koroma (Huddersfield) and Hakeeb Adelakun (Bristol City).

Paul Warne’s men were well fancied for promotion from the start of this season and look good to prove those bookies right.

They have dropped points in the not too distant past to both MK Dons and Wimbledon, teams around us, and we can only hope they’re feeling as charitable this weekend.

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

Rotherham United:
Milton Keynes (h) – DRAW
Coventry City (a) – DRAW
Accrington Stanley (a) – WIN
AFC WImbledon (h) –DRAW
Lincoln City (a) - WIN

________________________________________________________________________
HEAD TO HEAD:
_____________
ROCHDALE - 27
DRAWS – 15
TRANMERE- 36

07 Dec 2019 – Rotherham United 0-1 Rochdale - League One
10 Mar 2018 – Rotherham United 0-1 Tranmere – League One
07 Oct 2017 – Rochdale 0-1 Rotherham United - League One
07 Dec 2013 – Rotherham United 1-2 Rochdale – FA Cup
01 Jan 2013 – Rochdale 1-2 Rotherham United - League Two


Photo: Action Images



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