Rochdale fell to another home defeat last Saturday against Plymouth. The game against Southend represents another chance to put distance between them and the drop zone.
They really need to try and take something from the game that, on paper, is significantly trickier than last weekends. Over the rest of the article, I will lay out the 11 I would pick for that game if I was in charge, running through each player and why I would select them.
Goalkeeper: 1. Josh Lillis
The biggest problem position for Rochdale this season with 3 different keepers trying their hand repeatedly at holding the gloves but although Josh has made mistakes this season and is very short on form, I see nothing in Norman or Moore to suggest they are any better and therefore until a time a better keeper is signed. Josh is my number 1.
Right Back: 2. Joe Rafferty
One of the more dependable Rochdale players this season who recently clocked up his 250th appearance for the club. He is one of the first names on my team sheet and one of the key members of the first team. Often a fantastic outlet down the right and very useful on the overlap, he is keeping Liverpool loanee Connor Randall out the team.
Centre Back: 5: Ryan Delaney
Centre back is a troubling position for Rochdale with a lack of quality or depth available, Delaney does enough to be second best centre back at the club in my opinion but, with only Jim McNulty the 3rd choice after James Finnerty’s release recently. Additions are badly needed in January.
Centre Back: 6: Harrison McGahey
Comfortably the best centre-back at the club with the current options he would always make my team sheet, was one of Rochdale’s better players during last seasons great escape.
Left Back: 31: Sam Hart
I have really liked what I have seen from this lad so far this season, shows a real technical talent when on the ball and isn’t scared to run at people. Would like to see him play more but is currently racking up yellow cards, so any suspensions will need to be managed accordingly. Keeping Matty Done out of my team.
Right Midfield: 7: Stephen Dooley
Another player who has impressed me this season when I have seen him play, particularly his dribbling, can beat a man and seems to have a knack for getting into good positions which is what you want from any winger. I think he has a way to go in terms of development, but I think he’s the man going forward for that right midfield spot.
Centre Midfield: 25: Dan Adshead
One of this season’s brighter sparks with the emergence of his talent even being spotted by England with him making his international debut with England U18s earlier this season and scoring during his time with them. Taken his opportunity with both hands and for now, in my opinion, should be keeping Callum Camps out of the team.
Centre Midfield: 27: Andy Cannon
Has really struggled for minutes this season with injuries or Keith Hill preferring other options for most of the season but for me, he should be starting. I rate him quite highly as one of better players and he showed that in bits last season. Including a man of the match performance against Tottenham in front of the TV cameras. Would like to see him kick on and get a run of starts going now.
Centre Midfield: 14: Oli Rathbone
Bringing certain energy to the midfield when he plays and was very much one of Rochdale’s better players despite defeat against Plymouth. Shades getting in the 11 ahead of MJ Williams because of this.
Left Midfield: 40: Ian Henderson
I don’t really need to say much here. Rochdale’s captain and top scorer is the first name on the team sheet and should play every game he is fit for.
Striker: 9: Calvin Andrew
A man whose performances of late are much improved and with the current crop of players gets my nod to start. Holds the ball up very well and lays it off well which allows the wingers to get forward. Almost plays a false 9 kind of role in that sense. All he lacks is consistent goals but his all-round play has made him one of Rochdale’s best options up front of late.
Worth mentioning that it Zach Clough was fit, I would have him starting with Calvin Andrew on the bench instead of Jordan Williams.
Subs: Magnus Norman, Jim McNulty, Matty Done, MJ Williams, Callum Camps, Bradden Inman & Jordan Williams