Manager Jon Whitney is braced for a tough test from Rochdale at the Banks’s Stadium tonight (7.45pm kick-off).
The Dale come into tonight’s game bottom of League One and 12 points from safety, albeit with at least four games in hand on the sides above them and five in some cases.
Keith Hill’s side have seen games postponed as well as advancing to the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they earned a replay at Wembley Stadium by holding Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-1 draw at Spotland a few weeks ago.
That replay took place a week ago, with Dale’s scheduled weekend fixture against Plymouth Argyle falling foul of the weather.
And with Rochdale fighting for points, Whitney is anticipating a tough test tonight at the Banks’s off the back of our excellent 3-0 victory over Southend United at the weekend.
“I’m expecting it to be tough tonight,” said Whitney.
“Keith has come out and said how they’ve punched above their weight these last few years, and they’ve done incredibly well with the resources they’ve got to work with.
“I watched both games against Tottenham and I thought they gave a good account of themselves, and the replay was always going to be a difficult task.
“One thing Keith doesn’t do is lie down. They’ll fight and while there’s a chance (of safety), they’ll fight with their games in hand.
“And listen, it can be done if you get yourself on a run. They’re a thoroughly professional club and do things the right way.”
Whitney was delighted with his side’s performance against Southend on Saturday, which saw Erhun Oztumer score a hat-trick to secure the three points through a long-range effort, a neat free-kick and an outside-of-the-boot finish from 12 yards.
And Whitney was understandably delighted for our top scorer, as he secured his first professional hat-trick at Roots Hall.
“We contained it really well with a few half-chances for them and when our chances came, we were quite clinical and took them really well,” Whitney said of the Southend win.
“Especially the first and third ones - they were really good team goals.
“It’s great for Erhun and special mention to him for getting his first professional hat-trick, which is a nice moment for a player.
“I’m sure he’ll say it’s a team effort but it’s still nice for him to have that recognition, so congratulations to him.
“I thought the whole performance was really positive. There was no talk of it being off with our lads - we prepped as if the game was on.
“We got down there early on the Friday and training was a little bit different but we got up nice and early on Saturday, saw it was on and kicked the plan into action.”
Tonight’s game against Rochdale is a Friend for a Fiver fixture - Season Ticket holders can purchase an extra ticket for a friend for just £5! Call 01922 651416 or visit the Ticket Office at the Banks’s Stadium to secure your extra seat.