Free-scoring ‘Dale won’t be fearing a trip to the Lane.
Rochdale are beginning to enjoy their away days. Following hard on the heels of three goals at Crewe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, ‘Dale put four without reply past Crawley last weekend, moving them into a comfortable mid-table position after a traumatic start – now all they need do is address their home form!
Is it a coincidence that ‘Dale’s upturn in fortune has come about since defender Jack O’Connell has returned on loan to the club. Keith Hill has made no secret of his admiration for the Blackburn Rovers youngster, who was a big part of Rochdale’s promotion charge last season.
The manager would dearly love to make O’Connell’s move a permanent one but is just enjoying working with the 20-year-old centre-back again. His arrival was a timely one with club captain Olly Lancashire a long-term casualty.
A solid defence gives you a foundation to work from the higher up the leagues you progress and Rochdale’s forwards have shown they can do the business at the other end. Matty Done, Peter Vincenti and Calvin Andrew got on the score-sheet at Crawley and Ian Henderson has also been among the goals lately.
In fact, only early leaders Peterborough United have scored more goals in the league so far and ‘Dale have score twice as many as anybody else away from home so they won’t be fearing a trip to Bramall Lane this weekend to face Sheffield United.
The Blades were one of the pre-season favourites for promotion but have struggled for consistency in the opening weeks. They’ve won one and lost one of their two home games so far and are finding that the atmosphere at Bramall Lane can lift the opposition as much on the home side on occasions.
With O’Connell holding the defence together, Rochdale will fancy their chances of getting something out of a game which would have been unlikely a couple of weeks ago. They are Evens getting a goal start on the handicap – United aren’t prolific scorers whereas ‘Dale can’t stop scoring at present and look a decent bet at 6/4 to win either half.
This match kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday, September 13th at Bramall Lane.