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Match Previews

Rochdale vs Blues: 5 Things To Look Out For

18 January 2018

Blues travel to the Crown Oil Arena to face Rochdale in Sky Bet League One this weekend.

We've picked out five talking points to preview the clash against Keith Hill's side:

18th vs 23rd

Saturday is undoubtedly a big game for both sides as just five places in the Sky Bet League One standings separates them.

Crucially for Blues, the points margin is nine points so a win for the caretaker duo of Ricky Duncan and Kevin Maher would provide further breathing space to their opponents this weekend.

Kevin Maher and Ricky Duncan in temporary charge

Following the departure of Phil Brown, Blues will head to the Crown Oil Arena with Academy Manager Ricky Duncan and U23 Manager Kevin Maher in charge.

Duncan has been back at Blues for over 10 years now overseeing a flourishing Academy that has seen its success this season with Dru Yearwood, Elvis Bwomono, Norman Wabo and Nathan Bishop all playing roles throughout.

Former midfielder for 10 years at Roots Hall and captain in two promotion winning sides, Maher has previously managed Chelmsford City. Like Duncan, the 41-year-old has played a key role in the development of the younsgters who have been in first team action this season, having been in charge of the Blues U23 side for the last two years.

Cup game on the horizon for Dale

Rochdale have an Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round tie at Millwall to look forward to next weekend.

A 1-0 win away to Doncaster in the Third Round set up a trip to the Den for Keith Hill’s side.

Whether the distraction of the FA Cup will play a part or not, Dale will be hoping their cup exploits will lead to an upturn in league form.

League form

It has been a struggle for both Blues and Rochdale in their respective domestic campaigns.

Blues have won once in eight games whereas Rochdale, despite their wins in the Emirates FA Cup, haven’t picked up three points since the end of November.

Both sides will be expecting to put their best foot forward to end their poor form and get back to winning ways.

New faces in Dale camp

21-year-old defender Sam Hart and midfielder Mihai-Alexandru Dobre have been added to Keith Hill’s squad ahead of Saturday.

Dale, who have also brought in Billy Knott and Ryan Delaney this month, completed the signing of the duo this week, with Dobre the latest to add to their squad.

Hart arrives on loan from Blackburn and Dobre from AFC Bournemouth having already spent the first six months on loan at Bury where he played 12 games earlier this season.

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