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Gillingham 2 v 2 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 23rd January 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Gillingham v Rochdale
Thursday, 21st Jan 2021 20:00 by Chaff

Dale are back on the road again this weekend with a long trip south to Gillingham, desperate for a return to winning ways.

Date: Saturday 23rd January 2021
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Venue: Priestfield
Rochdale take on Gillingham this weekend for the second time in just over 4 weeks with the hope we get a very, very different outcome!

Dale suffered a horrible 4-1 defeat at home to the Gills just before Christmas in a pretty abject display, especially as Dale went into the match on the back of a wonderful 5-0 demolition of Wigan Athletic. About as contrasting in fortunes as you can get.

Incidentally, that Wigan win was our last as Dale find themselves on a run which has returned just 1 win in 8 games and no wins in our last 5 games. A run of form that needs to end and needs to end urgently.

Recent weeks have seen some of the most bizarre results and matches I can remember in the 30 years of watching Dale. Two 3-3 draws either side of the first ever 4-4 draw that I’ve seen. We’ve shown a huge amount of attacking quality but next to no defensive quality. Our most recent game, a 1-0 defeat away at Doncaster Rovers, was almost like watching some of our earlier home matches where we’ve huffed and puffed but not been able to break a solid defence down and conceded a sloppy goal. This has been far too frequent under Brian Barry-Murphy.

Injuries and suspensions are hindering Rochdale as well as we literally have just the one recognised centre back at the moment in Haydon Roberts who’s expected to lead our defence despite being just 18 years old. We’re without O’Connell and McShane through injury with the skipper set to be out for quite a while. McShane has barely featured this season but is excellent when he does. But we can’t keep paying someone a big wage to be on the treatment table every week. Add to that the fact that Jim McNulty is still suspended after his moment of utter stupidity against Wigan that got him sent off. Aaron Morley did well on Tuesday next to Haydon Roberts but the worry is that this weekend could see us up against big John Akinde, who bullied Roberts in the home match and this is as physically weak a defence as you could ask for.

Gillingham are only mid-table, they’re not unbeatable, we’ve had better results away from home and so this isn’t a game we can’t win but with our lack of defensive options, you’d take a point right now if offered and I’d say it was unlikely.

News has just come through that Dale are close to signing Luton defender Gabriel Osho on loan but whether this deal is confirmed in time we wait and see.

Gillingham really did a number on us earlier in the season. They were very good but at the same time we were awful but in John Akinde, they have an absolute mountain of a man that no defender wants to take on, let alone our weak back line. Despite that, he does only have three goals to his name this season and two of those came against us!

The Gills, as I’ve mentioned find themselves mid-table as we come up to the half way stage of the season. I reckon they’ll have been ok with that and expected that back at the start of the season but their recent form has seen them lose 6 of their last 8 games and won the other 2, against us, and against Accrington at the weekend. That should tell you how poor we were against them! They also suffered defeat at home to the side rock bottom, Burton Albion recently.

As we know, in Steve Evans, Gillingham have a manager, who’s known for his success in the game despite the way he gets it. He’s turned Gillingham into a side that don’t play nice football but try and grind out results and the 4-1 win against us, does look like it was an extremely good day for them and horrendous day for us. It may be worth watching the game on mute given the fact he didn’t shut up during the iFollow coverage last time out and this time, we won’t have commentary from Dale!

Goals this season have been well shared around at Gillingham with like likes of Vadaine Oliver (7), Jordan Graham (6) and Dominic Samuel (6) being the biggest goal threats so far this season but as a unit, they generally don’t score a great deal of goals.

Hopefully that is the case this weekend.

Accrington Stanley (a) - WIN
Burton Albion (h) - LOSS
Plymouth Argyle (a) - LOSS
Northampton Town (a) - LOSS
Rochdale (a) - WIN

Doncaster Rovers - LOSS
Wigan Athletic (h) - DRAW
Charlton Athletic (a) - DRAW
Crewe Alexandra (h) - DRAW
Gillingham (h) - LOSS
DRAW - 18

15 Sep 2018 – Rochdale 3-0 Gillingham – League One
30 Mar 2019 – Gillingham 1-1 Rochdale – League One
29 Dec 2019 – Gillingham 1-0 Rochdale – League One
25 Jan 2020 – Rochdale 2-2 Gillingham – League One
19 Dec 2020 – Rochdale 1-4 Gillingham – League One

Photo: Action Images

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