|Kidderminster Harriers 1 v 1 Rochdale|
Saturday, 9th September 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Kidderminster vs Dale
Thursday, 7th Sep 2023 09:54 by AtThePeake
Decided to bring back the match previews on a 'whenever I actually have time' basis, starting with this weekend's trip to Aggborough.
- Kidderminster vs Rochdale
Dale's start to life in the National League has been more positive than many were expecting in the summer. With the inexperienced Jim McNulty in charge and the budget being slashed considerably from last summer, where it was significantly increased for the much-maligned Robbie Stockdale, many fans feared the worst this season.
But with seven games on the board, Dale have managed to pick up three victories and one draw, leaving them eighth in the table and on the verge of the play-offs at this early stage. With time for new players to still bond and with key attacking outlets such as Devante Rodney and Jesurun Uchegbalum still out of the picture, there's a belief that Dale could be competitive in this division over the course of the campaign.
That growing belief was dealt a blow last weekend, as Dale turned in their least effective performance of the season so far for the visit of Halifax. Robert Harker turned in a low cross in the first-half following a Jimmy Keohane mistake to hand the Shaymen all three points and Dale found themselves incapable of producing an equaliser against Chris Millington's well-organised outfit in the second half.
In terms of personnel, it's unlikely we'll see too many changes for this game. Fans will be hoping to see another attacking option on the bench at least, as for that game versus Halifax McNulty selected no more than four defenders as substitutes and elected to make just one change before the 84th minute mark.
The first sub he made was to bring Kwaku Oduroh on for the aforementioned Keohane and the Derby youngster may feel he deserves to start after a poor showing from the Irish full-back last time out while Max Conway, who has impressed in his handful of minutes so far, may also hope to be handed a first start after three appearances from the bench.
Dale will look to deliver the kind of performance that saw them run out 1-3 winners against York City in their last away match as they head to Aggborough for the first time since a 2-1 defeat in December 2004.
Of their seven opponents so far, Dale have faced just two (York and Halifax) in league football before, but they will be renewing acquaintances with Kidderminster on Saturday as the Aggborough club did enjoy a four year run as a Football League outfit in the early 2000s.
Since then, the Harriers have flirted with promotion back into the EFL on a couple of occasions, losing out on the title on the final day of the 2012/2013 campaign despite beating Stockport County 4-0 to condemn them to relegation to the National League North.
Instead, when they were to exit the National League, it was to be relegated into regionalised football and the National League North, where they spent seven seasons - finishing in the play-offs on four separate occasions before finally earning promotion via that route last season. A late run of form saw Kiddy surge into the play-offs, where they overcame Kings Lynn and Brackley to secure their return to the National League.
The step-up has proved quite tough so far for Russell Penn's charges and they've managed just one victory from their seven fixtures so far, away at York City. Last weekend, a 2-1 defeat at crisis club Southend United saw the club slip to within one point and one place of the relegation zone although there is still plenty of time to turn things around this season.
In terms of personnel, there are a few recognizable names to Dale fans. Experienced defenders Krystian Pearce and Nathaniel Knight-Percival are former EFL stalwarts, while midfielder Jack Lambert joined from Darlington in the summer having previously been linked with a move to Spotland.
Kiddy will be hoping to get more of a tune from Ashley Hemmings in the coming weeks as their play-off hero who has scored 30 league goals over the last two seasons is yet to find the net this term. They've struggled for goals generally though, scoring only three times in their first seven outings, with two of those goals being scored by former Oldham man Amari Morgan-Smith.
KIDDERMINSTER : 8/5
HEAD TO HEAD
Dale have won just two of their previous 10 meetings with Kidderminster, with all 10 of those matches coming in Kidderminster's brief stint as a Football League club between the 2000/2001 season and the 2004/2005 campaign.
One of those victories was a memorable one though, as Leo Bertos' cool finish handed Dale a pivotal 0-1 victory at Aggborough in April 2004 - a victory that all-but confirmed the club's safety from relegation for another season.
GAMES - 10
15 Apr 2003 - Rochdale 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers - League Division 3
Photo: Action Images
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