It seems like months ago that City trudged off the field having been beaten 1-0 at the hands of Rotherham, but after an FA Cup-induced lay-off Paul Tisdale’s men are back on the road with a major score to settle as they take on Rochdale. Tom Doherty is likely to be the only injury casualty, but City will also have to make do without Scot Bennett, who sits the match out having picked up his fifth booking of the season against Rotherham. With both “combative” midfielders out this may open the door for Aaron Dawson to make the starting XI, or Tisdale may instead move Steve Tully into the midfield with Kevin Amankwaah slotting back in at right back.
Rochdale, under the somewhat colourful former Accrington boss John Coleman, have made a very similar fist to City of their attempt to return to League One at the first time of asking, and currently sit in 9th place, only ahead of City by virtue of a +1 goal difference. Recent form has been fairly poor with three defeats from their last four games in all competitions, latterly a 2-3 home reverse against York. Robert Grant, with 10 goals in all competitions, will provide the biggest goal threat alongside the veteran Dele Adebola, who has five, and midfielder Andrew Tutte with six. Likely to line up in defence will be Peter Cavanagh, a name that may send shivers down the spine of City supporters who recoil at that horror tackle on Chris Todd in the televised fixture with Accrington in early 2006 (that somehow only earned Cavanagh a yellow card!).
The start of this preview mentioned “a major score to settle” – something that refers to the last time the sides met, at Spotland in April. With 11 minutes to go that afternoon City were cruising 2-0 (Nardiello penalty and Sercombe), only for Dale to come storming back to win 3-2, effectively relegating City while clinging on to their own forlorn hopes of escaping the drop. The overall head-to-head record slightly favours City, with 22 wins to Rochdale’s 18 (18 draws), that win for Rochdale in fact their first over City since August 2001.
Your Exeweb guide to travel, pubs, chip shops and Spotlands –http://www.exeweb.com/2012/04/07/the-things-you-need-to-know-spotland/