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Fleetwood Town 1 v 0 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 10th April 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Fleetwood vs Rochdale
Friday, 9th Apr 2021 18:35 by AtThePeake

Time is running out for Dale to escape the bottom four as they make the short trip to the Fylde coast to take on Fleetwood Town this weekend.

Date: Saturday 10th April
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Venue: Highbury Stadium
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THE DALE:
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It's a strange old time to be a Rochdale fan isn't it?

As tensions between the fanbase and the club's board of directors continues to rise, on-pitch results and performances are doing nothing to ease the frustrations that supporters are feeling right now.

Indeed, any team that finds themselves bottom of the table are likely to come in for criticism and although plenty has been aimed at Brian Barry-Murphy and his charges, but it says enough that there does appear to more frustration aimed at those above the Irish manager.

The improved performances in matches against the likes of Peterborough and Lincoln may have played some part in that decrease in fan pressure on BBM - although the more likely explanation is that supporters now realise that he is contracted for another 12 months, making his removal all the less likely.

Circumstances surrounding the non-announcement of his contract were yet another source of anger for supporters and with recent news that former chairman Chris Dunphy is now eyeing up a return to the club, it seems that it's rare that a day passes by at the moment without some source of drama surrounding our beloved club.

And to make things all the more difficult, we've had to watch all of this play out from afar, with supporters not allowed in grounds for over 12 months now and that set to be the case until the 2021/2022 season when, in all honesty, it seems likely that Dale will be plying their trade in League Two.

Following international break that came after the four points taken from the matches against Lincoln and Peterborough, the side have returned with just one point from their last two games after two less impressive displays in a 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth and a goalless tie with Ipswich Town at Spotland.

Although those results don't leave Dale any further away from the 20th place they will be coveting at the moment, the four points between the club and that position are looking less likely to be overhauled as the weeks tick by and indeed Dale now have just eight games to play out this term.

No actual time scales were set for the injury returns following the relatively recent update from the club, although Jack Vale never featured anyway despite being fit enough to be included in the match-day squad on Easter Monday vs Ipswich.

Matt Lund and Stephen Humphrys are the two players that most supporters will be willing back to fitness, but a return for Ryan McLaughlin would also be pivotal as it would allow Brian Barry-Murphy to move Matt Done out of the wing-back role he has occupied in the last two games and back into attack, where he has been more effective of late.

Time is running out and we're reaching the now or never stage for Dale's chances of remaining in League One in this campaign, making three points at Highbury Stadium pivotal this weekend.
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THE OPPOSITION:
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The hope for Dale will be that Fleetwood Town have taken their foot off the gas heading into the final stages of this League One season with no real threat of relegation but no real chance of a late play-off surge either.

Hopes will have been high at the start of the season for the Cod Army after some intriguing moves in the transfer market, not least the arrivals of former Dale man Callum Camps and ex-Sheffield United winger Mark Duffy.

However, any play-off dream has faded due to a lack of consistency at Highbury Stadium and instead, this has proven to be a transitional season on the Fylde Coast.

Not only have regular starters such as Ched Evans and Lewie Coyle been moved on as the season has progressed, but the club also decided to dispose of manager Joey Barton in January and replace him with former Blackpool manager Simon Grayson, who has a strong record of winning promotion from this division throughout his career.

That change in the dugout hasn't really been able to prevent Fleetwood's inconsistency however. A recent six game winning run that included wins over Lincoln and Ipswich may have put the Cod Army in potential play-off contention had it continued, but it was ended last month with back-to-back home defeats to Swindon Town and Peterborough United.

Grayson's charges did return to winning form last time out however, picking up a 0-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon at Plough Lane and doing Rochdale a big favour in the process by taking points off one of our relegation rivals.

This is a squad that should, on paper at least, be in play-off contention. The likes of Jordan Rossiter and Callum Camps are still young and have potential to grow but are supplemented by experienced heads like Charlie Mulgrew, Glen Whelan and the aforementioned Duffy.

And given that this is a club that, in recent years, have been more than willing to supplement their managers with plenty of funds to shape their squads, you'd have to imagine that they could potentially be a serious promotion threat next season under the wily Grayson.

For now though, it's a matter of preparation for that season and Dale will hope to take advantage of any lack of motivation with nothing really riding on the remainder of the campaign.
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FORM BOOK:
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Fleetwood Town
AFC Wimbledon (a) - WIN
Peterborough United (h) - LOSS
Swindon Town (h) - LOSS
Ipswich Town (h) - WIN
Blackpool (a) - DRAW

Rochdale:
Ipswich Town (h) - DRAW
Portsmouth (a) - LOSS
Peterborough United (h) - DRAW
Lincoln City (a) - WIN
Sunderland (a) - LOSS

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HEAD TO HEAD:
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FLEETWOOD TOWN: 6
DRAW: 7
ROCHDALE: 6

09 Oct 2018 - Fleetwood Town 0-2 Rochdale - Football League Trophy
19 Jan 2019 - Rochdale 1-1 Fleetwood Town - League One
21 Sep 2019 - Fleetwood Town 2-1 Rochdale - League One
26 Dec 2019 - Rochdale 2-3 Fleetwood Town - League One
03 Oct 2020 - Rochdale 2-1 Fleetwood Town - League One

Photo: Action Images



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