Rochdale are set to do battle with their Lancashire rivals on Tuesday in the Checkatrade Trophy after the original fixture was postponed last Wednesday following a sudden spate of rainfall.
The advantage or disadvantage, depending on which way you look at it, these clubs have gained through having their tie delayed by a week is that they now know who they would face in the next round should they progress. The winners shall face Manchester City’s Under 21’s in a home match which as far as this trophy goes, should bring in a bumper attendance with a local clash and a chance to test themselves against one of the best academies in the country.
That could be a good incentive for either side going into this match, but I feel Keith Hill has reasons to be positive as recent performances have been improving. Which suggests they could be about to turn a corner and, start to pick up the results their performances have warranted.
In their 2 games so far in December, they have come up against Portsmouth in the FA Cup. In which they lost 1-0 thanks to a 90th-minute goal deflecting off Ryan Delaney and wrong-footing Josh Lillis. In a result which was very unfair considering they apparently largely dominated the second half and won the shot count 18-14, also had 5 shots on target to Portsmouth’s 3. This shows they were creating the chances and just couldn’t put them away, even hitting the crossbar late in the second half.
On Saturday they played away at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and picked up a point, but this doesn’t tell the whole story with Rochdale once again winning the shot battle, this time 11-9 and having more possession in this match 55% – 45%. Besides this Wimbledon’s keeper had to pull off an excellent save low to his left at the death to ensure they shared the points.
With Rochdale only having lost once to Oldham in the past seven matches between the sides at Spotland and a home tie against Man City U21’s awaiting the victors, I see plenty for Keith Hill to be positive about and once again place faith in a lot of his academy developed players, like he has to great effect so far in this competition.