Brian Barry-Murphy had the perfect start to his caretaker managerial role with a win against Shrewsbury on Saturday. Goals coming from Kgosi Ntlhe and Jim McNulty sealed a very rare home win and a very welcome 3 points.
Barry-Murphy will need to put a string of results together to try and carry Rochdale out of the drop zone, and enhance his chances of getting the job full time. Unfortunately, Dale didn’t improve their league position as all the teams in and around them also won this weekend.
The 2 players that most deserve to be in Rochdale starting 11 are;
Playing at left back against Shrewsbury last Saturday, In his first game back following a nasty knee injury, Kgosi put in what was undoubtedly his best performance of the season so far. Playing solidly in his position from the off and then being in the right position to half volley from a corner into the Shrewsbury goal for his second league goal this season. His performance throughout the 90 minutes earned him a very much deserved man of the match award and therefore should be one of the first names on the team sheet tonight.
This 20 year old central midfield loanee from Manchester United was serving a one match suspension for last Saturdays game following a red card he received against Luton. The class he has shown over recent games has shown him to be, in many dale supporters opinion, the automatic choice to pair with the now fit Ollie Rathbone in midfield.
Ethan has proven to be a quality edition to the team this season and the kind of player that many Dale supporters would love to see kept on the books, although it is obvious he is already proving to be a class above this division.
Despite poor weather in Rochdale over the past few days, very heavy rain and strong winds, the clubs recent investment in an inflatable dome pitch protection system will surely see the game go ahead. The last thing Rochdale need is a back log of games at the end of the season caused by postponements, and to use a old footballing cliche, every game is a must win for Rochdale now if they hope to maintain their League One status.