ARGYLE head for Rochdale today and, specifically, the Crown Oil Arena (formerly known as Spotland) after two successive home games, against Oxford and Bradford respectively. This is our first away game in 18 days after the 2-0 defeat at Montgomery Waters Meadow against Shrewsbury on November 27.
Rochdale stayed in the division last year by the skin of their teeth on 51 points. In a tussle between them and Oldham Athletic, Rochdale needed a result on the final day to stay up. Joe Thompson, who had beaten cancer twice, scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win, which he later described as “fate.”
Dale manager, Keith Hill, who is, of course, a former Pilgrim, is in his second stint at the helm. He returned in 2013 after a brief spell at Barnsley and was earlier this year rewarded with a new five-year contract to keep him at the Crown Oil Arena. During his playing career, the two teams he made most appearances for are the two in action today, having played over 120 times for Argyle and over 150 times for his current employers.
Currently, Rochdale sit 18th with 24 points in Sky Bet League One, having won two of their last seven games. Both of those wins were 1-0 home victories against Charlton and Accrington respectively.
Over that seven-game spell they have chalked up eight points, while Argyle. in the same stretch, entered double figures in terms of points with wins against Gillingham, Scunthorpe and Fleetwood. Freddie Ladapo is into double figures for goals and, in those three wins, contributed five goals and two assists.
In terms of the statistics, Rochdale, on their own patch, have amassed 11 points from 10, which is one point better off than Argyle. Contrasting that, Argyle manager Derek Adams team boast an unwanted record, with the league's worst away form. Our only win on the road came in a 4-1 win over Scunthorpe.
Derek Adams expects Rochdale to continue to exhibit their brand of “open” football, evidenced in the fact they have netted 28 times (four more than Argyle). However, at the other end, they are maybe too open, having shipped 39 goals so far.
The bulk of Rochdale’s goals have come courtesy of Iain Henderson who, similarly to Freddie Ladapo, has 13 goals in all competitions so far, almost half of his teams goals this season. Henderson has two braces and a hat-trick to his name, and the last of his goals came in a 4-2 defeat away to Oxford.