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BBM making these 2 tweaks to Rochdale will see them continue unbeaten start against Sunderland, agree?

Rochdale continued their fine start to their 2019/20 League One campaign, as they remain unbeaten after three league matches. The Dale drew 0-0 at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, in a game they should’ve won.

Brian Barry-Murphy has done a fantastic job since taking over at Spotland. The young manager has made a couple of good loan signings in Robert Sanchez and Rhys Norrington-Davies, which has bolstered their defence, while they have a solid midfield to supply Ian Henderson, who scores goals for fun at this level.

They play host to Sunderland tonight, who will be looking for automatic promotion. The Wearsiders earned a last-minute winner at Spotland in this fixture last season. Rochdale will be hoping for revenge and a win that will likely take them into the top six.

Veteran striker Calvin Andrew will be looking for his first start of the season. Perhaps Murphy will play two strikers to try and benefit from Sunderland’s less physical backline. Alim Oxturk and Jordan Willis are quick, good defenders, but perhaps not favourites if involved in a physical battle with a striker like Andrew.

Sunderland’s main attacking threat comes from Aiden Mcgeady on the left side of midfield. Jimmy Keohane has been operating at right-back so far this season, I wonder whether Keohane will play on the right of midfield, and Murphy will play a defender behind him to double up on Mcgeady and stop the threat.

I expect a very good game tonight, if Rochdale can supply Henderson and play like they’ve done so far this season, they can certainly come out of this game with a positive result.

2 weeks of the transfer window left, what do Rochdale need to do

Rochdale have enjoyed a solid start to their season, taking five points from their opening three league matches, and beating Bolton 5-2 in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

The Dale won their opening day fixture at Tranmere Rovers 2-3, with striker Ian Henderson grabbing two and loanee Rhys Norrington-Davies netting on debut. In their opening game at Spotland, Rochdale drew 1-1 with Doncaster Rovers and 0-0 yesterday. It’s been a good start to the season, how far can Brian Barry-Murphy take them?

It’s a big two weeks for them into terms of the transfer window. Rochdale needs to add depth to a good starting 11, to be competing at the right end of the table come May. They have arguably the best goalscorer in the division, Henderson, however an injury to him would leave them light on goals.

Also, although they’ve scored nine goals in three matches, they’ve still conceded five which is a worry. Obviously if you sacrifice defensive thoughts to score more goals, you are likely to concede more, however Murphy may be looking to sign a central defender to help steady a leaky defence.

I think Rochdale have an exciting team, a manager that wants to succeed and is supported by the fans. They’ll have a good season, however, their lack of depth does worry me, when you look at teams like Sunderland and Portsmouth, in comparison. If Murphy can perhaps poach a couple of loan players and pick up a couple of permanent signings to bolster his options, particularly in defence, then Rochdale will be well prepared for a shot at the play-offs.

BBM should set up his Rochdale back 4 like this to frustrate Shrewsbury & take the 3 points

Rochdale have enjoyed a good start to the season, The Dale won their opening game 3-2 at newly-promoted Tranmere Rovers, before drawing against Doncaster at Spotland.

A hidden gem

Robert Sanchez joined in the summer from Brighton and Hove Albion. The youngster has started the opening three matches, and despite conceding seven goals, it’s looking like Brian Barry-Murphy has found his number one for the season. Sanchez spent time on loan at Forest Green Rovers during the 2017/18 campaign, so will be looking to impress this time around in a higher division.

Jimmy Keohane will operate at right-back again, the versatile Irishman has played a number of positions since signing for Rochdale last summer. A reliable player that will do his job pretty much anywhere on the pitch.

On the other side, Rochdale look to have found a gem in the loan signing of Rhys Norrington-Davies from Sheffield United. The left-back has already chipped in with a goal and an assist in the opening two league games and just provides an extra attacking option to Barry-Murphy. It’s important that full-backs add that width and quality into the box, particularly when you have a striker like Ian Henderson, who usually profits from opportunities.

Experience

Jim McNulty provides that experience and leadership needed in central defence. At 34, the defenders best years are probably behind him. However, his leadership skills and influence off the pitch, are priceless to The Dale. He will be partnered by new summer signing Eoghan O’Connell, who signed from Bury. The Irishman made 31 appearances last season and has headed to Rochdale hoping to continue the solid form that saw them promoted to League One.

Shrewsbury Town is one of the hardest places to go in League One, however, The Dale are the underdogs and are scoring goals, I give them a big chance of getting a result.

Are Rochdale dark horses for promotion?

It’s early doors, but Rochdale has made a pretty good start – scoring goals and picking up points.

I give Rochdale a chance of finishing play-offs or higher for one big reason, Ian Henderson. One of the best and most proven strikers in that league, over the past five seasons. A goalscorer gets you so far in that league. If they keep him fit, he’ll score 20+ goals and I just wonder where that will take them.

Brian Barry-Murphy did brilliantly last season after taking over, keeping The Dale in the division, albeit comfortably in the end. He’s an ambitious young manager, with the backing of their support, who knows how far he can take them.

Josh Lillis is a very good, experienced goalkeeper. Jim McNulty provides strength and leadership at the heart of the defence. Rhys Norrington-Davies looks a great find from Sheffield United, the defender has provided a goal and assist already.

Matt Done is a quality player in that league, guarantees creativity and goals from midfield, but the outcome of their season rests on Henderson I feel. If they can keep creating him chances, defend solidly, they’ll be challenging at the right end of the table.

Henderson has two goals in the first two matches. It’s no fluke, he’s done it time and time again. I’m amazed a Portsmouth or Sunderland didn’t sign him this summer. Ok, he’s not a glamorous name, but with service, he’ll get you out of this division. Sunderland took a £4 million punt on Will Grigg which is looking like failing, Henderson would’ve been peanuts considering his age. A guaranteed goal scorer.

It’s very early days, however, Rochdale has started the season brightly, exciting times for the fans.

The final touches: What BBM should be getting right in Rochdale’s training this week

It’s nearly the start of the season and as most teams come to an end of their pre-season campaign’s. The Football Manc Cave are looking at two things Brian Barry-Murphy should have his team working on before the season gets underway.

Rochdale haven’t had a bad pre-season run and it’s looking like new manager, Brian Barry-Murphy has adapted to his role well. The players are also looking as if they have been motivated by their new manager.

The Dale faced one last friendly against Hyde United before they can start their new season and there will surely be a few training sessions to come before we get to see their League campaign. With that in mind, here are two things that Brian Barry-Murphy should have his lads working on this week.

Youth

Proving that he’s a very organised man in charge, Murphy released his youthful squad that will face Hyde United a day before the game would take place. He has a very young and fresh line up which will give him the chance to see Rochdale’s youngsters in action and how they handle the pressure.

While this gives the senior squad members rest and keeps them from injury before the start of the season, it also gives Brian Barry-Murphy a chance to pick out the best. He will have the likes of 16-year-old Luke Matheson and 18-year-old Fabio Tavares aiming to impress. If any of the youth can live up to senior squad standards, they should be put through their paces in the last training sessions of the summer.

Adaptation

This summer has seen scholarship players such as Harrison Hopper, Lewis Bradley and Fabio Tavares sign professional contracts. It has also seen new players like Jimmy Ryan sign for the club. Robert Sanchez has also signed for Dale on loan from Brighton.

It seems a lot of changes have been made within the squad and there will definitely be more as the season goes on. However, this will be a test for Brian Barry-Murphy as he will have to get these new and young players to adapt to senior football and to be a part of a new team. Hopefully, he will use these next few training sessions before the season starts to get the team gelling and flowing nicely.

What 2 qualities will former Blackpool midfielder bring to Rochdale

Rochdale has completed the signing of former Blackpool captain Jimmy Ryan on a two-year deal.

The 30-year-old, who has made nearly 400 career appearances, is Brian Barry Murphy’s fourth summer signing, and first permanent one.

Ryan has played for a number of different clubs in the EFL, including Shrewsbury, Fleetwood, Scunthorpe and Chesterfield.

So, here at The Football Manc Cave, we look at what the midfielder can offer at Spotland for the next couple of seasons…

Experience

As stated above, Ryan has made almost 400 appearances in the EFL. So if you need a signing that ‘knows the league’ and what it requires to be successful, he’s your man. It’s been made clear that Murphy wanted a midfielder, and to add experience to his side this summer, Ryan ticks them two boxes for sure.

He was named in 2010/11 PFA Team of the Year while at Accrington Stanley, while picked up Fleetwood’s Club player of the Year award in 2016, which shows he’s more than good enough at this level.

Versatility

Ryan is predominantly a central midfielder, however, can operate on either wing too, which will be a big plus to Murphy later in the season. A majority of Rochdale’s midfielders are young, perhaps Ryan can be that leader in the middle that they were looking for, someone to play off and build a side around.

With Ryan in midfield, Henderson upfront and the added quality from the three loan deals, Murphy is starting to find that right balance between experience and quality. I think their squad is shaping up nicely ahead of their season opener on Saturday away at Prenton Park, against newly-promoted side Tranmere Rovers.

Three players who must impress BBM against Hyde tonight for Rochdale

As most teams pre-season campaign comes to a close, The Football Manc Cave are looking at Rochdale to see which players should look to impress in their last friendly against Hyde United.

A very organised Brian Barry-Murphy has already picked out his squad that will play against Hyde. It’s a very youthful Dale side, although he can afford to put out an inexperienced team to give himself and fans an insight into the youngsters in the team.

This also gives the senior squad a rest ahead of the start of the season. The line up picked out consists of, Wade, Matheson, Kinsella, Lee, Dunne, Clarkson, Chorlton, Gillam, Moreland, Bradley and Tavares. Before this team gets underway at Ewen Fields, here’s three of the squad members who should look to impress their manager and the fans.

Bradley Wade

Wade is a 19-year-old goalkeeper who has come through the ranks at Rochdale and has been with the club since he was 15 years old. He’s been a key member of the youth squads at Dale and now that he has become a senior squad member, he will be looking to impress.

Another factor that will influence his performance is that Rochdale has recently signed Robert Sanchez on loan from Brighton, and he has recently started a friendly for the club. This knocks Wade further down in the pecking order for Brian Barry Murphy’s choices. This should mean that Wade will be looking to put on his best performance against Hyde.

Luke Matheson

The 16-year-old has had a good career so far, as he’s had 2 senior appearances already for Dale and he has appeared for England’s Under 17’s team once. The defender is obviously very young, however, he will be looking to impress. He will want to boost his own playing experience and he will also want to get a chance at regular football.

If Matheson can show what he’s capable of, he could gain credit from his current manager, interest from other clubs with him being so young and also interest from England’s other youth teams.

Fabio Tavares

Another young player who will be looking to prove himself. He only signed his first professional contract this summer with Dale along with Harrison Hopper and Lewis Bradley. Tavares has also been with the club since he was 15 and has been a big part of the youth squads. He has bagged over 40 goals throughout his two-year scholarship.

Now that he is part of the senior squad, he will be looking to impress not only the fans but Brian Barry Murphy and the team. Lewis Bradley has also been named in the squad to face Hyde so the pair will hopefully be able to show how they can produce good football together.

Season approaching: What have Rochdale and BBM learnt from their friendlies

A mixed bag of results for Rochdale in their pre-season so far. What do these performances say about the future of the club?

Rochdale will be looking to improve on their last two seasons where the club finished 20th and 14th respectively. A big step down from finishing in the top ten consecutively in seasons before.

In their first game of pre-season, Rochdale suffered a 3-1 defeat against Championship side Huddersfield. Huddersfield only managed three wins in the Premier League last season. In perspective, it demonstrates how unequipped Rochdale is to take on teams in the highest tiers of English football.

However, Rochdale faced their other neighbours Oldham Athletic from the league below. The Dale won the game 3-2, which in fairness, shows Oldham’s ability to cope in their previous division League One. The game showed Rochdale lose a 2-0 lead, to pull ahead by 3-2 in the later minutes of the game.

At the weekend, Rochdale was losing 1-0 to Bradford City before the half time abandonment due to the weather.

The pre-season results, so far, show that Rochdale is well below the quality of Championship football. But are slightly ahead of a League Two side who should push for promotion in the upcoming season.

Rochdale needs to grow

If Rochdale fails to grow further throughout pre-season, they can expect a season that is similar to their previous two.

With that being said, ex-Dale player Brian Barry-Murphy was appointed permanent manager last season. Chairman Andrew Kilpatrick said Barry-Murphy was “without doubt the right person to take Rochdale forward”.

This tells the fans that Rochdale are looking to push the club forward, and they should not expect the same degree of failure they have been subjected to in recent years.

Barry-Murphy is likely to test his youth, new signings and possibly trialists in their game against Hyde tomorrow night.

‘Fans just want the season to start’ as Ernie Cooksey Trophy is won by Rochdale following win over Oldham Athletic

After a long summer break lasting well over two months has now come to an end. It seemed no surprise to see both Oldham Athletic and Rochdale going all guns blazing, as pre-season got into full swing. 

The forward lines, in particular, were enjoying a welcome return to the football field as the Oldham ground staff offered out a surface perfect for playing free-flowing football. While the surface retained its brilliance throughout the 90 minutes, the standard of football did not. 

The first half no doubt had the home fans believing they’d made the right choice between going to a potentially laborious friendly, or a trip to the Trafford Centre. Although the second showed why friendlies are not for everyone. Both managers Laurent Binade and Brian Barry-Murphy looked unsure of which players will make the first team cut, ahead of the new season which starts in just two weeks time. 

Looking the more prepared after their 3-1 defeat against Huddersfield Town only a few days previous, Rochdale looked the dominant side, in particular, their forward line. Stephen Dooley, Callum Camps and leading man Calvin Andrew gave the Latics defence nightmares in the opening 20 minutes with their movement. While in the midfield M.J Williams ran the game, angling passes any top-class midfielder would have been proud of. 

Oldham manager Binade had a look of horror on the touchline as his team were time and time again cut apart. Sharing an expression similar to keeper Gary Woods, so often with his arms wide open gasping at his backline as Dale mirrored a knife cutting through butter. 

Oldham respond

Though motivated by the fear of a battering, Oldham responded with a look of determination. One thing is for sure, this friendly had the attacking coaches smiling and the defensive ones worried. Particularly Rochdale’s as they play a division higher against forwarding lines much stronger to that of last seasons mid-table League Two side. 

While BBM looked rather happy with his sides start, his hoody was raised over his eyes shortly after when the Latics hit back. If Dooley was Dale’s man of the match, Latic number 10 Mohammed Maouche was the home sides equivalent. Scorer of the first goal, he gave all of Boundary Park encouragement this game could go the distance with his inspiring and creative play.

Substituted in the second half, Oldham lacked the pace of Maouche plus the lift he gave to his teammates around him. Fatigue and a lack of rhythm also played a part, this due to the number of subs made. Both teams made 16 changes between them in the second half. 

Ian Henderson, ironically one the visitors second half additions, struck a late winner showing even before August why he is still the key man at Spotland.

With fans twiddling their thumbs for three months at the weekend, these early games are met with appreciation. Yet most will now just want the season to start. Then at least each team can only make three substitutes.

Photo Credit: Rochdale AFC

3 Rochdale players that should play vs Oldham Athletic today – Agree?

Oldham Athletic host Rochdale in a pre-season friendly today, as both sides continue their preparation ahead their seasons starting on August 3rd.

Oldham finished 14th in League Two last season, new manager Laurent Banide will be looking towards the play-offs. However, last seasons talisman Callum Lang looks to be staying at Wigan Athletic for the next campaign.

While Rochdale escaped relegation, following their brilliant form under caretaker boss Brian Barry-Murphy, which saw him be appointed the clubs permanent boss.

So, let’s look ahead to this friendly. Which three Rochdale players should start on today?

Ian Henderson

Scored on Saturday vs Huddersfield, will score five vs Oldham. Perhaps a little optimistic, I’m just a huge fan of his. Henderson being fit and scoring goals will make or break their season. Provide him service and he’ll score 15+, if they don’t, they’ll struggle to avoid relegation. I’m quietly confident they’ll have a good season, though.

Ntlhe Kgosi

The defender was signed from Stevenage in 2017, on a free transfer. He was in and out of the side last season, making 19 appearances, similar the season before when he made 20. Whenever I’ve watched him, I’ve been impressed and wondered why he doesn’t play every week. Perhaps if he has a full pre-season, he can be a vital player for Murphy next season.

Bradley Wade

Josh Lillis will start the season as Rochdale’s number one. However, Bradley Wade is currently the only other goalkeeper on their books, so perhaps he’s going to be given an opportunity to challenge for the number one shirt next season. Still only 19, he has plenty of potential and time is on his side.

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