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Plymouth Argyle 0 v 4 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 1st December 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Match Preview: Plymouth vs Rochdale
Monday, 30th Nov 2020 13:13 by AtThePeake

Dale will look to be bring an end to a seven game winless run on Tuesday night as they make the long trip south to take on Plymouth Argyle.

Date: Tuesday 1st December 2020
Kick-off: 7:45pm
Venue: Home Park
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THE DALE:
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Rochdale's encouraging start to the League One season appears to have given way to the more difficult campaign we were expecting before the opening match after a recent run of poor form.

After last Tuesday night's home draw with Northampton Town, Brian Barry-Murphy's men have now gone seven games without a victory in all competitions in a run that has seen them knocked out of both the FA Cup and the EFL Trophy in the process.

Even more worryingly however, the five games without a win in League One have seen Dale slip to 20th place, ahead of the relegation zone by just one goal over Bristol Rovers - a team they drew 1-1 at home with during this winless run.

At least in the draw with Northampton last time out there were shoots of recovery in the performance. Dale were less wasteful in possession and although there was a struggle to create chances, the hosts did look more likely to score than they had in the previous match, the 0-1 loss to Wimbledon.

Undone by conceding from a set piece goal once again in the first-half converted by the Cobblers' beanpole striker Harry Smith, Dale pushed hard to get themselves back in the game and eventually found a way through thanks to a stunning free-kick from Stephen Humphrys.

It was the first time that Dale's summer signing made it through 90 minutes since his return to the club and it was his first goal of this spell, which is certainly one of the real positives to come out of that fixture.

The other positive was the performance of substitute Kwadwo Baah. The youngster looked very threatening playing on the left after being introduced from the subs bench and won the free-kick that Humphrys converted. He's unlikely to be fit enough to last a full 90 minutes any time soon, but could be expected to play some part on Tuesday.

Dale's defensive woes continued with a lack of clean sheet and the worrying news on that front is that first-choice keeper Gavin Bazunu will continue to miss out after breaking his finger on international duty with the Republic of Ireland U21s. Jay Lynch will deputise in his fourth league appearance of the season.

Ryan McLaughlin played the second half of the game against Northampton after missing out versus Wimbledon. He was introduced during the break for Tolaji Bola, although it's unsure whether that was a tactical switch or an injury-enforced one. Paul McShane is likely to miss out again.

Home Park hasn't exactly been a happy hunting ground for Dale in recent seasons. In their last four trips to Plymouth, the men in blue have picked up just one point, with their last win in Devon coming back in 2011 thanks to a second-half Gary Jones strike.

This could be one of Dale's last away games without supporters in the ground as restrictions are set to be eased on attendances by Wednesday and with their next away opponents, Peterborough United, sitting in a Tier 2 zone, supporters could be in the ground the next time Dale play away from Spotland.
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THE OPPOSITION:
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Plymouth Argyle benefitted from the early end to the League Two season after back-to-back 3-0 wins over Grimsby Town and Macclesfield Town last term were enough to secure a top three finish in the PPG system adopted by the fourth tier.

That meant that for the second season in a row, manager Ryan Lowe had won promotion from League Two, having led crisis club Bury to a top three finish 12 months earlier before leaving for Home Park.

With the Shakers eventually excluded from the Football League, Lowe was quick to bring his backroom staff to Devon with him along with a raft of former Gigg Lane stars including Danny Mayor, Dominic Telford and Byron Moore who remain with the club a year on.

As you'd expect after a promotion, Lowe has tinkered with his squad over the summer, bringing in Ben Reeves (who Dale fans will remember for scoring two late goals in two different matches against us for MK Dons in the same season) as well as journeyman forward Frank Nouble and experienced stopper Luke McCormick, returning for a third spell at the club.

And so far, so good for the Pilgrims, particularly at home. Perhaps the long journey has proven difficult for opponents so far, but a record of five wins and two draws from seven home league games so far is unsurprisingly among the best in the third tier.

However, it does feel that now might be a good time to face Lowe's men. Although obviously both games were on the road, Plymouth were hammered 5-1 by Fleetwood Town before going down 1-0 to Peterborough United in their last two league games, so if confidence is dented then Dale might be able to take advantage here.

Unfortunately, due to that home record, it's much more likely that the Pilgrims will feel comfortable in their own surroundings - particularly given that they've already overcome the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool and Swindon Town at Home Park this season.

The likes of Mayor, Reeves and Nouble are recognisable names for lower league supporters but one man who Dale fans in particular will remember is Niall Canavan. The centre-back made 39 league appearances at Spotland, scoring three goals, and has played in six of Plymouth's League One fixtures so far this term.

Although the away form will be concerning to Lowe and his charges, on home soil Plymouth look almost unassailable at the moment so this will be a very tough trip to Brian Barry-Murphy's side as they look to arrest their slide in form on Tuesday night.
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FORM BOOK - LAST 5 GAMES:
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Rochdale:
Northampton Town (h) - DRAW
AFC Wimbledon (h) - LOSS
Salford City (h) - LOSS
Stockport County (h) - LOSS
Oxford United (a) - LOSS

Plymouth Argyle:
Lincoln City (h) - WIN
Peterborough United (a) - LOSS
Fleetwood Town (a) - LOSS
Portsmouth (h) - DRAW
Newport County (h) - WIN
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HEAD TO HEAD:
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PLYMOUTH ARGYLE - 16
DRAW - 9
ROCHDALE - 8

18 Jan 2014 - Rochdale 3-0 Plymouth Argyle - League Two
28 Oct 2017 - Plymouth Argyle 1-1 Rochdale - League One
24 Apr 2018 - Rochdale 1-1 Plymouth Argyle - League One
15 Dec 2018 - Rochdale 1-2 Plymouth Argyle - League One
23 Feb 2019 - Plymouth Argyle 5-1 Rochdale - League One

Photo: Action Images



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