Latics aim to extend unbeaten run to ten consecutive Sky Bet League One games on Saturday at Spotland.
- 12:30pm kick-off on Saturday at Spotland with game broadcast live on Sky Sports 1.
- Dale six without a win in League One, Latics unbeaten in ten.
- 18 years since last league meeting between the two sides, with Latics winning three of last four visits to Spotland in all competitions.
Latics head into the game in fine fettle in Sky Bet League One and, though Kevin McNaughton and Sanmi Odelusi remain injured whilst Will Grigg and Donald Love are away on international duty, Gary Caldwell has plenty of players to choose from after Tuesday night’s impressive 4-0 demolition of Blackpool and the short-term arrival of Cardiff City striker Alex Revell.
Caldwell takes his side to face Keith Hill’s Rochdale knowing he is in for a tough test against one of League One’s most efficient sides. Dale are a club that have kept a close-knit group together with seven of their first team squad members racking up over 100 appearances in all competitions for the club.
However, Dale have won just four of their eight home league games and they come into this match on a winless run of six games in Sky Bet League One, a run of form that has seen them drop to 14th in the table – a position that sees them sit six points from the drop zone and six points from the play-offs. As the table begins to take shape, Hill will know his side need to halt their alarming drop in form if they are to challenge at the top end of the table whilst Latics know victory at Spotland will move them within two points of the current top two, Burton Albion and Walsall, with the pair not playing this weekend due to international call-ups. Gillingham and Coventry City – currently third and fourth in the table – play at 3pm and could jump into the top and maintain their four point advantage on Caldwell’s side.
Tickets, priced at £22 for adults, £16 for Over 65s and Under 21s and £5 for Under 16s, will be available up until 4pm on Friday from the DW Stadium Ticket Office. Cash only turnstiles will operate on the day of the fixture.
After winning promotion to Sky Bet League One in 2014, and then finishing eighth on their return to the third tier last season, Dale set about a challenge for a place in the top six this time around.
Their summer departure list was minimal in terms of first team regulars, with just Stephen Dawson and Bastien Hery – both fringe players at Spotland – leaving to join Scunthorpe United and Carlisle United respectively.
Keith Hill bolstered his ranks with the additions of defender Jim McNulty from Bury, wingers Nathaniel Mendez-Liang and Donal McDermott from Peterborough United and Ramsbottom United respectively and striker Lewis Alessandra who signed from Plymouth Argyle.
The season began in fine style for Dale, with a home win over Peterborough United followed up by a Capital One Cup first round victory over Coventry City on penalties before a 2-0 win at Blackpool left Hill’s side with three wins from three in the first week of the season.
A 2-1 home defeat to high-flying Walsall ended that run, before a 0-0 draw at Chesterfield was followed up a 1-0 defeat at Hull City in the League Cup.
Hill secured a win over his former club Barnsley in their next fixture, defeating the struggling Tykes 3-0 at Spotland. A draw with Fleetwood Town and defeat at Burton Albion stung momentum prior to home wins over Scunthorpe United and Shrewsbury Town that, either side of a defeat Millwall, lifted Dale up the League One table.
The victory over the Shrews was Rochdale’s last in League One, however, as four draws and defeats to Bradford City and Sheffield United have dropped Hill’s side from their early season play-off push.
A 3-1 FA Cup win over Swindon Town last weekend has set up a second round tie with Latics’ conquerors Bury, though Dale’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy campaign was ended in midweek as they lost to League Two Morecambe at Spotland.
FOLLOW THE MATCH
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