|Rochdale 1 v 1 Notts County|
Sunday, 7th November 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Dale vs Notts County
Thursday, 4th Nov 2021 18:21 by AtThePeake
Notts County are the visitors to Spotland on Sunday as the Dale get their 2021/2022 FA Cup campaign underway.
Date: Sunday 7th November
Dale will be hoping for a better outcome than they managed in last season's FA Cup First Round tie when they were pitted against another old adversary currently languishing in non-league.
Stockport County, Dale's conquerors in the 2007/2008 League Two play-off final, were able to cause something of a shock at our expense last season, thanks in no small part to a memorable strike from John Rooney from inside his own half.
And this season, another National League side who have had the better of Dale in a recent battle for silverware have been drawn out of the bag in Round One as the 2009/2010 League Two title winners Notts County roll into town.
For the hosts, this may be the last chance for a cup run of the season. In the EFL Trophy, Dale's midweek defeat at the hands of Bolton Wanderers means that progression hangs on whether Liverpool's young charges can take three points from Port Vale in their final fixture.
The EFL Cup actually saw Robbie Stockdale's men pick up a Round Two win over League One outfit Shrewsbury Town (after progressing past Harrogate Town in Round One due to the game being cancelled after a COVID outbreak within the Sulphurites squad). Of course, the run would come to an end at Turf Moor in Round Three, but only after Jake Beesley's opener had sent the away fans into raptures.
Since then, focus has of course been on the side's league form, which seems to have steadied against recently after a poor run, which included home defeats to Oldham Athletic and Crawley Town, had posed some questions of Stockdale and his side.
Back-to-back away draws in tough trips to Swindon Town and Salford City had steadied the ship somewhat, but they did of course mean that the winless run stretched on for a further two matches.
Finally, in the most dramatic of circumstances, Dale did break the sequence against Sutton United at Spotland last week, but they made it incredibly difficult for themselves on the day.
Having been cruising at 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining, the hosts somehow found themselves needing a last-gasp strike from Aaron Morley to rescue all three points after conceding two quick-fire goals from set-pieces against the 10 men U's.
And with some supporters speculating that such a moment as that Morley strike could kickstart a season, a Beesley brace helped Dale to another three points in the league last weekend, with a 1-2 win at Barrow in the first league meeting between the two teams since 1969.
Given that Robbie Stockdale chose to rotate the squad rather heavily for the EFL Trophy tie against Bolton in midweek, you'd expect to see plenty of changes from that starting XI as the team take to the field against Notts County on Sunday.
That could indicate that the boss is looking to take the FA Cup seriously this year and after the club's exploits in earning replays at Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United in this competition in recent years, that will surely please supporters looking for another big day out.
One man who is likely to miss out however is Danny Cashman. The Brighton loanee was looking bright against Bolton but was forced off the pitch due to injury before the half-time whistle.
Jim McNulty has missed the last couple of games after picking up a knock, which is particularly frustrating given that he had turned in one of his better performances in a Dale shirt in the win over Sutton a couple of weeks ago.
Home form is perhaps still a worry with Dale having only won two home league games so far this term, so progress in the FA Cup in front of a home crowd and on the back of some improved league results should see Dale fans smiling on Sunday afternoon.
It wasn't just that Dale fell just short of the top spot in that campaign as Keith Hill prepared his squad for League One in the latter stages, but that County's title-winning squad had mostly been assembled under the false pretences of the fraudulent Munto Finance, who's short reign saw a raft of big-name signings join the club - including former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson as Director of Football.
Ray Trew was to become the club's saviour that season and he managed to stabilise them in League One for a handful of seasons, before selling the club to Alan Hardy after relegation back to League Two.
Now, undoubtedly, the aim is to return to League Two as soon as possible, but it's been play-off heartbreak for the Magpies fans in the last two seasons, firstly against Harrogate in the 2020 final and last season they were defeat in the semi-final stage by Torquay United.
As for this season, County have their play-off chase back on track at the moment having picked up an available 10 points from the last available 12, following a worrying trio of consecutive league defeats to Altrincham, Woking and Halifax.
Since then, Yeovil, Stockport and Grimsby have all been defeated, seeing Ian Burchnall's outfit rise to 7th in the table and they'll be hopeful of continuing their FA Cup run too after overcoming Tamworth in the Fourth Qualifying Round - after a replay at Meadow Lane.
In terms of their current squad, the most recognisable name for Dale supporters will be 'Player/Coach' Jake Kean, although the former Spotland loanee is certainly more of a coach than a player at Meadow Lane, having never made an appearance in the league since moving to Nottinghamshire in 2019.
Another former Dale loanee, Joel Taylor, currently plays for Notts, while Kean is kept out of the team by ex-Scunthorpe stopper Sam Slocombe and there are plenty of other former EFL players within Burchnall's squad through the likes of Richard Brindley, Kyle Wootton and Adam Chicksen.
One man the Dale defence will have to be wary of is Portuguese attacker Ruben Rodrigues. The 25 year old found the net for the 7th time in the National League this season when he bagged the only goal of the game in the team's victory over Grimsby last time out.
No doubt about it, this is a potential banana skin for a Dale side that have suffered their fair share of defeats to non-league opponents in the FA Cup over the years. A professional job is required if the team are to prevent Notts County from being the next club to dump them unceremoniously out of the competition this time around. ________________________________________________________________________
24 Sep 2011 - Notts County 2-0 Rochdale - League One
Photo: Action Images
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