Pre-Match: Notts County v Dale

The first of four away games sees Dale travel to Nottingham to pay a visit to Meadow Lane tomorrow. Ian McParland’s band of formerly quite-good players sit 14th in League Two with an incredible nine draws in their thirteen games so far this season, and could boast an eleven match unbeaten run before it was ended last week by Chesterfield. It’s hard to tell if Notts County are a decent team or not; they’ve drawn away at Exeter, matched Shrewsbury and Gillingham at home yet also dropped points against sides such as Accrington Stanley and Macclesfield. Mid-table seems about right.

They do have some talent in their squad however, even if that talent wasn’t what it used to be. Jamie Forrester used to bang them in for Lincoln before heading to the Midlands, Delroy Facey’s been here, there and everywhere, scoring a few but missing an awful lot too. Russell Hoult will be familiar from his West Brom days, Matt Hamshaw from his times at Stockport and Mansfield. The whole squad it seems is built from cast-offs it seems; the Oxfam of League Two.

Don’t take that description as arrogance on my part though, we include amongst our own squad one such Lee Thorpe, a journeyman if ever I saw one. It’s just that in this current Notts County you see very little upcoming talent, yes the side may be decent on their day, but surely as a whole the squad is past their collective peak.

They should prove to be difficult to beat if previous matches are anything to go by, they’ve not lost at one, though admittedly they’ve only won one too. Following two excellent wins, Rochdale are in confident mood and will fancy winning this one.

Notts might be missing veteran defender Michael Johnson tomorrow night, the veteran defender having picked up a foot injury during the game at Chesterfield on Saturday. Rochdale have their own defensive injury problem too; Nathan Stanton might find himself on the bench if his flesh wounds from Saturday don’t heal in time. Jon Shaw is still out with the world’s longest hamstring injury layoff, Mark Jones probably won’t even make the bench, such is the form of Thompson and Buckley.

With your usual reporter unable to make the game, the match report against Notts might be filed by someone, but then again maybe not. You’ll just have to check and see!

Possible Dale lineup: Russell, Wiseman, McArdle, Holness, Kennedy, Thompson, Toner, Jones, Rundle, Thorpe, Dagnall
Subs: Spencer, Stanton, Keltie, Buckley, le Fondre

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