|Rochdale 1 v 0 Tranmere Rovers|
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 11th September 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Rochdale vs Tranmere Rovers
Friday, 10th Sep 2021 10:00 by AtThePeake
Robbie Stockdale goes in search of his first home league win as Dale manager on Saturday as Tranmere Rovers make the trip Spotland.
Date: Saturday 11th September
So it's back to Spotland for a Saturday 3pm kick-off this weekend, with Tranmere Rovers making the short trip over from the Wirral.
Although, as the intro suggests, Dale are yet to earn their first home league win under Robbie Stockdale, the hosts do actually come into this game on the back of a five game unbeaten run in all competitions.
After picking up a first win of the campaign on the same day as the announcement that Morton House Management had pulled out of their original deal to try and take over the club away at Northampton, we've started to see signs that Robbie Stockdale is really starting to get his ideas across to the players.
That 1-3 win at Sixfields was followed up by another away victory at Shrewsbury Town in the EFL Cup, then a 1-1 home draw with Colchester and a 4-0 thumping of Liverpool's U21 side in the EFL Trophy
With Jamie Proctor giving the Valiants an early lead, Dale rallied well to come from behind to take a second-half lead thanks to Jake Beesley goals either side of half-time, only for the former Rotherham man to equalise.
In recent seasons, Dale fans may have been forgiven for feeling that goal would dent morale and all but end any hopes of securing all three points.
But this squad, although still gelling and still getting used to playing together, is made of stronger stuff. Corey O'Keeffe, the hero with a brace against Liverpool, further endeared himself to the Dale support with the winner at Vale Park, leaving the 400+ travelling supporters travelling back to Lancashire in a buoyant mood.
And indeed, there's plenty to be buoyant about at the moment. Although Dale fans remain vigilant against any potential takeover attempts given the precarious position that approximately 42% of the club's shares find themselves in, the future looks bright at the moment.
With performances improving, a board that seems to have the best interests of the club at heart and a manager who is saying and doing all the right things, there is a degree of cautious optimism about the rest of the season creeping across the fanbase at the moment.
In terms of team selection, Robbie Stockdale will undoubtedly be hoping for a return to fitness for at least one of Jeriel Dorsett or Sam Graham, both of whom missed out of the defence last weekend, leading to a start for Jim McNulty in the centre of the three.
Corey O'Keeffe and Jimmy Keohane are likely to keep their places in the wing-back slots, while Stephen Dooley and Aaron Morley will hope to keep theirs in the middle of the park, despite pressure from the likes of Liam Kelly and George Broadbent.
So, can Dale break the home duck and earn their first league win of the season at Spotland, or will Tranmere prove another tough nut to crack this Saturday?
With the campaign being decided on a PPG basis, despite Tranmere's form improving and with a re-arranged fixture at Spotland against Rochdale still to come, the Wirral-based outfit found themselves relegated, with Dale being one of the teams that managed to stay up at their expense.
There was more Dale interest at Prenton Park last season too, as our former boss Keith Hill took over the reins with the club struggling towards the lower reaches of the League Two table and led them to the play-offs, as well as the EFL Trophy final (which they subsequently lost).
Remarkably, chairman Mark Palios decided to remove Hill from the position before the play-offs got underway, much to the delight of the Tranmere fanbase, although it wasn't enough to secure promotion via the play-off route.
Instead, Palios has turned to former boss Micky Mellon, in the hope that the Scotsman can lead the club to the kind of success he enjoyed in his first spell in charge at Prenton Park.
Although Dale fans may have been surprised to see 10 new players come through the door this summer, that's nothing in comparison to the turnover in Birkenhead. Including their five loanees, the Whites have made no fewer than 18 new signings over the summer as Mellon targets the top spots of the table.
Among those signings are some interesting names with experience aplenty. Liam Feeney and Callum McManaman come to the club having played at a much higher level, the latter being an FA Cup winner back in 2013 whilst with Wigan Athletic.
It's been a mixed bag of a start to the season for Mellon's men, with two wins, two draws and two victories picked up in their first six games. Notably however, both of the wins have come at Prenton Park.
On the road, Tranmere are yet to score in the league this term, drawing 0-0 with Port Vale and Swindon Town before going down 1-0 to Scunthorpe United. In fact, all of their matches so far this term have been low scoring - with just four goals in total scored across the team's six outings in League Two.
No doubt some Tranmere supporters will be happy to see Dale in League Two this season given the way the 2019/2020 campaign came to an end. Whether they'll be happy to see the back of Spotland on Saturday however, remains to be seen.
01 Jan 2011 - Rochdale v Tranmere Rovers W - 3-2 - League One
Photo: Action Images
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