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Oxford United 3 v 1 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 3rd November 2020 Kick-off 19:00
Match Preview: Oxford vs Rochdale
Monday, 2nd Nov 2020 17:13 by AtThePeake

The matches continue to come thick and fast for Dale as they head to Oxford United on Tuesday night looking to stretch their unbeaten run to five matches.

Date: Tuesday 3rd November 2020
Kick-off: 7:00pm
Venue: Kassam Stadium
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THE DALE:
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With the season kicking off later than usual, but all of the standard early campaign EFL Trophy and EFL Cup games still to fit in, it was inevitable that there would be some tough runs on the legs during this truncated League One season.

And that's exactly what Rochdale and indeed all lower league teams are having to endure at the moment as they play a third consecutive midweek league fixture on Tuesday evening, this time the opponents for Brian Barry-Murphy's men being a struggling Oxford United outfit.

You get the impression that despite the small squad at his disposal and the injuries suffered by the likes of Paul McShane, Kwadwo Baah and Stephen Humphrys, that the Dale boss won't be too disappointed with the sheer mount of games being played at the moment.

And the reason for that is that the Irishman's side seem to have found some real momentum in recent weeks and have gone four matches unbeaten in the league for only the second time under his tutelage - the first time being in his first four games in charge back in the 2018/2019 campaign.

Having picked up an unexpected win over Burton Albion away from home two weeks ago and followed that up with another three points on the road at Shrewsbury, Dale have since picked up two points at the Crown Oil Arena thanks to draws against Sunderland and Bristol Rovers.

That run has taken Dale up into 14th place, but perhaps more importantly for the long-term picture, performances have been much improved. Haydon Roberts has looked assured in featuring in all four of those games since his loan arrival from Brighton & Hove Albion whilst fellow defender Tolaji Bola, also on loan from Premier League side Arsenal, has also slotted in well.

Alex Newby seems to have found his feet at League One level now also, scoring very well-taken goals in the games against Shrewsbury and Bristol Rovers - he'll hope to keep that form up as more attacking options return from injury in the coming weeks.

Given the negativity that seemed to be enshrouding the fanbase in the summer with the loss of key players like Ian Henderson and Callum Camps, pre-season odds with some bookmakers had Dale odds-on to finish in the bottom four and be relegated to League Two this term.

With every game they play at the moment, it feels like Brian Barry-Murphy and his team are out to prove them wrong.
________________________________________________________________________
THE OPPOSITION:
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Tales of teams that have crashed and burned the season following unsuccessful play-off charges are all too familiar in the lower leagues and the latest casualty of such a phenomenon appears to be Oxford United.

Under one of the EFL's most renowned managers in former MK Dons man Karl Robinson, the U's managed to cling onto a fourth-placed finish on PPG at the end of the last campaign, despite losing key players Tariqe Fosu and Shandon Baptiste to Brentford in the January transfer window.

Then, having overcome Portsmouth on penalties in the semi-finals, the Yellows crashed to a 1-2 defeat in the play-off final at Wembley at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers and the morale-crushing nature of that defeat appears to have played some part in what has been a woeful start to the new campaign.

Although they have played fewer games than the three teams directly above them, Oxford currently sit rock bottom of the League Two table, their only points so far coming from victories against Milton Keynes and Accrington Stanley with all six of their other fixtures ending in defeat.

In the last week, the U's have fallen to consecutive 2-0 away defeats, failing to really lay a glove on either of Charlton Athletic or Fleetwood Town and as such, the Kassam Stadium fanbase may now be worrying as to the remainder of the campaign and the suitability of Robinson to continue in the job, with performances a far cry from the ones that had them flying high last term.

The encouraging thing is that on paper, this is still a very strong squad.Former youth product Sam Long has developed into a club stalwart in defence, whilst winger James Henry is always a threat and few attackers are as reliable in front of goal at Matty Taylor, who already has three goals this term despite his side's struggles.

Robinson can at least take heart from the fact that his side have a fine record over their Tuesday night opponents in recent years. Dale famously won the first ever competitive match at Oxford's Kassam Stadium thanks to goals from Matt Doughty and Simon Coleman, but Oxfordshire has proved an unhappy hunting ground since then.

Since then, Rochdale have won just once in their 10 trips to the Kassam Stadium and indeed they come into this one having failed to win in their last seven meetings with Oxford, the last of which yielded a thumping 3-0 victory for the Yellows after a sending off for Aaron Wilbraham.
_______________________________________________________________
FORM BOOK - LAST 5 GAMES:
________________________
Rochdale:
Shrewsbury Town (h) - DRAW
Sunderland (h) - DRAW
Shrewsbury Town (a) - WIN
Burton Albion (a) - WIN
Hull City (h) - LOSS

Oxford United:
Fleetwood Town (a) - LOSS
Charlton Athletic (a) - LOSS
Milton Keynes (h) - WIN
Peterborough United (a) - LOSS
Gillingham (a) - LOSS
________________________________________________________________________
HEAD TO HEAD:
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OXFORD UNITED - 10
DRAWS - 10
ROCHDALE - 8

16 Dec 2017 - Rochdale 0-0 Oxford United - League One
28 Apr 2018 - Oxford United 2-1 Rochdale - League One
27 Nov 2018 - Oxford United 4-2 Rochdale - League One
12 Mar 2019 - Rochdale 0-0 Oxford United - League One
26 Oct 2019 - Oxford United 3-0 Rochdale - League One

Photo: Action Images



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D_Dale added 22:21 - Nov 2
And yet the bookies offer only 6 to 4 on an Oxford win, and 4 to 1 on a Dale win - according to Soccerbase (which also states a 19.00, not a 19.45, kick off).
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TVOS1907 added 11:11 - Nov 3
Soccerbase and ATP are correct - it is a 19:00 kick-off.
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AtThePeake added 13:34 - Nov 3
Should add that I did change this after checking following D_Dale's comment.
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