Starting 11: Rochdale Should Start New Era Like This Against Shrewsbury

Brian Barry-Murphy’s spell as caretaker manager starts on Saturday with a home game against Shrewsbury.

Every game is crucial at this point in the season with the situation Dale now find themselves in.

Its unknown at this time if Brian would want the job permanently but he has his chance to audition for the job starting with 3 points on Saturday.

My choice for this Saturdays team would be the following in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Goalkeeper: 24. Andy Lonergan

At the time of writing it is unknown whether his emergency loan has been extended by another 7 days, but if it has, he is currently one of my first names on the team sheet. He has been in the strange position of winning man of the match despite some heavy losses of late, and has made some vital saves that at times has kept the scores less embarrassing than they might have been.

Right Back: 2. Ryan McLaughlin

This is a problem position for me, as we have a seemingly injury prone Ryan McLaughlin who was brought in from Blackpool in January to replace the outgoing Joe Rafferty. Another option could be breakthrough Academy star, Luke Matheson. I personally don’t believe is ready to start and play a full league match. If McLaughlin is fit I would edge towards him starting as he hasn’t had long to make an impression so far at the club, I just hope he spends more time on the pitch than the treatment table.

Centre Back: 6. Ethan Ebanks-Landell

One of the guaranteed starters in my team. Upon his return from suspension he absolutely must start, as he has shown his uses at both ends of the pitch since he came in on loan from Wolves in January.

Centre Back: 8. MJ Williams

Much trickier picking a centre back partner for Ethan as with no disrespect to our other options at the club, I don’t believe they are of the same level. Out of the 3 main options; MJ Williams, Jim McNulty and Ryan Delaney, I would be siding with MJ. I am a fan of his, he may not be the best natural defender but, I believe technically he is a step up from the other 2 players.

Left Back: 39. Joe Bunney

Again the left side of the defence poses just as much of a problem as the right in my opinion. Bunney was brought in on loan from Northampton in January as a solution to the problem, but I’m not convinced by his defensive capabilities. Both Matty Done and Kgosi Ntlhe have been trialed there but have failed to nail down a place. With Ntlhe currently out injured that leaves me with 2 options. When pushed, I would have to side with Bunney as Done has more use further upfield and Bunney can be a reasonable crosser of the ball.

Right Midfield: 7. Stephen Dooley

For me he has been one of Rochdale’s best signings this season, as in my opinion, he regularly looks a threat when he plays and isn’t afraid to take people on which is something Rochdale are going to need as they have to go for it to stay up.

Centre Midfield: 10. Callum Camps

Firstly its worth noting that it Oli Rathbone wasn’t injured he would be starting in my team, I’m not sure who alongside though. There is still plenty Camps can offer despite having somewhat of an indifferent season.

Centre Midfield: 25. Daniel Adshead

The absence of Hamilton through suspension, creates an opportunity for young Dan Adshead who I think could have a bright future at the club and an even brighter future in the game. He broke through into the team earlier this season impressing enough to even earn a England U19 debut.

Left Midfield: 19. Bradden Inman

The choices here for me are Matty Done or Bradden Inman for the left wing slot. Rory Holden is also capable of playing there but for me, I would be starting Inman. I believe he is the best player we have in that position.

Centre Attacking Midfield: 40. Ian Henderson

Not much needs to be said to justify his inclusion as he is one of Rochdale’s best players and one of the leagues top scorers, has a crucial role to play if they are to stay up.

Striker: 26. Zach Clough

I would like to see him given a chance starting up front if he is fully fit as I believe he possesses talent. He just hasn’t had a run in the team for reasons only known to the previous management team. Could potentially be vital to the survival effort.

To summarise my team and formation for the game on Saturday against Shrewsbury would be;

Goalkeeper: 24. Andy Lonergan

Right Back: 2. Ryan McLaughlin

Centre Back: 6. Ethan-Ebanks Landell

Centre Back: 8. MJ Williams

Left Back: 39. Joe Bunney

Right Midfield: 7. Stephen Dooley

Centre Midfield: 10. Callum Camps

Centre Midfield: 25. Daniel Adshead

Left Midfield: 19. Bradden Inman

Centre Attacking Midfield: 40. Ian Henderson

Striker: 26. Zach Clough

Subs: Brad Wade, Luke Matheson, Ryan Delaney, Matty Done, Aaron Morley, Rory Holden, Calvin Andrew