|Ipswich Town 2 v 0 Rochdale|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 26th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Ipswich vs Rochdale
Friday, 25th Sep 2020 12:09 by AtThePeake
Dale make their first ever trip to Portman Road on Saturday afternoon where they will take on an Ipswich side that has started the season in strong form.
Date: Saturday 26th September 2020
In his pre-match interview, manager Brian Barry-Murphy confirmed that the first of those three will all be likely to miss out for a matter of weeks, whilst both McLaughlin and O'Connell could make the weekend but are still being considered as doubts for the time being.
The two that will worry Dale fans most of course will be O'Connell and Humphrys, who were both taken off during last week's goalless home draw with Portsmouth. On his second debut for the club, Humphrys was taken off before the half-time whistle while O'Connell suffered an injury the closing stages leaving Gavin Bazunu to make two vital late saves to secure the point.
That got Dale off the mark for the campaign in the league after a disappointing opening day defeat down at Swindon Town and it came at a key moment too. Some supporters had started to raise concerns following the performance against Sheffield Wednesday in the EFL Cup that saw the side slip to a 0-2 defeat just days after the 3-1 loss at the County Ground.
Although Dale will clearly be lighter on attacking options without Humphrys and Baah, the load was at least eased on Thursday with the arrival of another striker, as first broke on Twitter by Chris Fitzgerald once again.
Former Salford City striker Jake Beesley joins the club on a three year deal from Solihull Moors and should be involved in the squad at least at Portman Road. Whether he starts is another issue though, having not yet met the rest of the squad on Thursday and having not played any competitive football since March.
For the team, it's a case of attempting to replicate the defensive efforts that saw them take a point from one of the title favourites in Portsmouth last weekend. But, in a run stretching back to last season of course, Dale have taken just one point from their last six games on the road and conceded three times in each of their last three away games. They need to start improving away from home - and quickly.
However, after years of floating around the lower reaches of the Championship, apathy appeared to have set in somewhat at Portman Road, not just among board members but also among some of the fanbase and as such, it didn't come as too much of a surprise when they were relegated at the end of the 2018/2019 season.
Given their recruitment and the hiring of the experienced Paul Lambert, who has previously won this league with Ipswich's arch-rivals Norwich City, it did come as a surprise to many to see the club languishing in mid-table when the season was brought to an early end last season though. Quite frankly, it's an embarrassing position for the Tractor Boys to find themselves in.
Lambert has been trusted by the hierarchy with a long-term contract though and early signs this season are that the promotion project is on the right course.
Players like Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala, who both joined from Shrewsbury during Paul Hurst's short-lived spell two years ago, are finally starting to show the kind of ability that saw them lead the Shrews into the League One play-offs under Hurst and they've helped Ipswich to some strong results early on.
Wins over Bristol Rovers in both League One and the EFL Cup, as well as a victory over newly-relegated Wigan Athletic, leave fans at Portman Road experiencing a sense of optimism perhaps unknown in recent seasons. Defeat to Premier League Fulham in the second round of the EFL Cup won't worry them too much - particularly not when they see their team at the top of the early league table.
Danny Rowe's 53rd minute goal was the difference when the two teams faced off last November in what was remarkably, the first ever competitive meeting between the two clubs. Can Dale level the scores with an unexpected away win here?
05 Nov 2019 - Rochdale 0-1 Ipswich Town
Photo: Action Images
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