Looking back over the head-to-head meetings between the sides (Stats Via 11v11) the sides have met ten times since 1978. In them matches Rochdale have only managed one win – 2104 – and two draws.
Now in Brian Barry-Murphy’s mind, however much he’d love to win every game, he’d much prefer to take points off the teams in and around them and sacrifice any losses against the likes of Sunderland and Portsmouth.
Nevertheless, the renewed confidence within the squad following only one defeat in his six games in charge, and hoisting themselves out of the League Two relegation zone is there for all to see.
Barry-Murphy has instilled a way to win and got a tune out of a squad of players, who were quite frankly underachieving and under performing under the old regime for most of the season.
An away fixture to a team who have four straight wins under their belt in the league and fighting for a promotion place is not best welcomed. However, Rochdale pushed Sunderland close last week and they can draw experience from that result, alongside the fact they kept a clean sheet in a win mid week in the league since they last played Accrington Stanley back in November.
There are a six points separating 10 places in the league, a couple of wins and Dale could see themselves midtable, however, a couple of losses and they could be back in the relegation zone – it’s that tight.
With games coming up against Southend and Wycombe, who are both on a poor run of results, they are must win matches. So today, even if Dale grab a point it can be seen as a hugely positive result and one that further cements Barry-Murphys amazing turnaround at the club.
Rochdale fans, what do you think the result will be today?