Pre-Match: Rotherham v Dale

Rotherham have had a good start to the season; if it weren’t for the seventeen point deduction, the South Yorkshire team would be lying in eighth position in the league table with ten points from five games. As it stands, they top the mini-league of administration affected teams; Bournemouth are seven points adrift and Luton are a further nine behind. Rotherham’s unbeaten start to the season was only ended last Saturday when ex-Dale left-back Alan Goodall scored an injury time winner for Chesterfield. It looks like another tough fixture for the Dale then.

It’s one we could do without to be honest. Give us a Macclesfield or a Chester to find our feet and we could build some momentum, and as we saw last season we are a team who succeed in putting together runs of irresistable football, before returning to the mediocrity of the kind we have seen so far this season. We aren’t a team that is adept at grinding out wins or playing badly and yet still winning, we either play excellently or poorly (sometimes within the course of one match).

So we could really do with a win tomorrow at the Don Valley Stadium, not just for the three points, but for the invigoration it may bring.

We may see new loan signing Jordan Rhodes tomorrow, the young Ipswich striker scores for fun in their reserves and certainly has everyone excited on the Dale message board. With Jon Shaw still out with a niggling injury, and Lee Thorpe not up to full fitness, Rhodes is favourite to start alongside Adam le Fondre, who is likely to get the nod ahead of Chris Dagnall, who hasn’t hit top form so far this season. Clark Keltie is likely to return to the starting lineup, and Will Buckley should keep his place at right wing after two decent performances. If Keltie isn’t quite fit we will see Ciaran Toner keep his place, or as an outside bet the so-far absent Mark Jones might feature. The other Jones and Adam Rundle are expected to complete the midfield set up. The back four as always is likely to be Ramsden, Stanton, McArdle and Kennedy, with England’s Number One Sammy Russell behind. Coincidently I saw Sammy’s car parked at the ground last week, the registration plate is S4M GK; it must have cost him a fair bit that one.

Familiar names in the Rotherham team are at a premium; Reuben Reid joined us on loan from Plymouth in the 06/07 season – he only played twice before Keith Hill sent him back for refusing to play a reserve match if I remember correctly. To see him fall down the ladder and end up at Rotherham is just desserts you might think. You might recognise Andy Warrington, the grey-haired Millers’ keeper, who used to be in net for Bury when they were crap; and you’re bound to spot Drewe Broughton if he plays, the stereotypical bottom-division clogger has played for sixteen different teams according to Wikipedia, and has been elbowing defenders up and down the land for twelve years now. The word journeyman was invented for people like Broughton. He’s still only 29, so I have this fear that we may still be seeing him for a few years to come, or even worse, we’ll probably end up signing him.

Prices tomorrow at the Don Valley Stadium are £18 and £20 depending on where you sit. I won’t be going, so tomorrow’s review will be filed by guest reporter Matt Turner.

Possible Dale lineup:
Russell, Ramsden, McArdle, Stanton, Kennedy, Buckley, Keltie, G. Jones, Rundle, Rhodes, le Fondre
Subs:Spencer, Wiseman, Toner, M. Jones, Dagnall

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