Rochdale AFC meeting the opposition.

Rochdale FC meeting the opposition.

Tranmere are back at home on Tuesday night following their away draw against Harrogate Town on Saturday afternoon, the visitors being Jim Bentley’s Rochdale.

With Tranmere on a great run of form, being unbeaten in the league since the defeat at home to Bradford City, Rochdale are on a relatively good run of form themselves following the appointment of Jim Bentley meaning that Tuesday night will certainly not be an easy outing for either side. 

Ahead of the game on Tuesday night, I spoke to @RochdaleFan to catch up on all things ‘Dale. 

Last season, Rochdale finished 18th in League Two as Jake Beesley finished top goalscorer with six in all competitions. What are your thoughts on that campaign?

Last season was our lowest ever finish since 2006. While the off the field issues did have a part to play for the on-field struggles, they do not wholly abolish the poor season. The football was unwatchable at times – Set up not to lose. Sideways passing. No attacking threat. Concede a set-piece goal. Still lost.

This summer, a total of thirteen players were brought in either on loan or on a permanent basis including Toumani Diagouraga from Morecambe. Were you happy with the transfer business over the summer? Did you believe that other positions needed to be added to or something else to have been done around the club? 

On paper, most of the players we recruited in the summer looked decent. We brought in much needed experience with Richard O’Donnell, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (EEL), Toumani Diagouraga and Ian Henderson.But, out of the 13 player brought in, in my opinion only 4, maybe 5 has really turned out to be a decent signing – O’Donnell, Diagouraga, Seriki, Sinclair and Rodney. Summer signing Rayhaan Tulloch is up there with one of the worst players I’ve seen play for Dale. Feel like we are still yet to replace Ollie Rathbone too. We are missing that ball winning terrier in our midfield. Also, I think we could do with an out and out left footer at left-back.

After a poor start to the season, Jim Bentley replaced manager Robbie Stockdale. What were your thoughts on the timing of Stockdale’s dismissal and Bentley’s time at the club so far? 

In hindsight we should have sacked Stockdale at the end of last season. Giving him the summer could end up being proven to be a huge mistake. Bentley on the other hand has been a breath of fresh air since being appointed. He has got a squad that looked broken and devoid of quality, fighting for each other, organised, resilient to grind games out and attacking with pace.

Simon Gauge is the chairman of Rochdale, thoughts on him and what he has brought to the club?

The hardwork and dedication Simon and the rest of the board have put in the last year to fight off hostile takeover attempts to keep the club fan owned can’t be thanked enough. They have brought some stability into a club that was getting sold down the drain by David Bottomley. The work they have done in the community should not go unnoticed as well.  

Scott Quigley has scored four goals in eight games this campaign, who do you believe are The Dale’s players to watch and where will the key battles be played out on Tuesday night? 

Scott Quigley would have been one of those Dale players to watch out for, but fortunately for Tranmere he’s out injured. Bad news for Rochdale as we didn’t look the same team without him on Saturday. Other players to watch out for are Tyrese Sinclair and James Ball. Sinclair is quickly becoming a fan favourite of mine. He embodies everything we as a club and Bentley stand for –  doesn’t stop running, doesn’t shirk from a battle, he’s quick and forward thinking and for his size lethal in the air. James Ball has been one of many who has been revitalised by Bentley. A powerful midfielder with an eye for a goal and Bentley system and style of play seems to be getting the best out of Ball.

What are your realistic targets for this season? With Rochdale placed 22nd, do you believe that there is enough firepower and strength to stay up?  

With the mess Stockdale has left us in, the aim this season has to be just to avoid relegation. If you asked me this question a few weeks ago, I would have said no chance, but Bentley has instilled a belief around the club and has given me hope that there are at least two teams worse than us. Think the January transfer window and getting Quigley back fit will be key however for our survival hopes. 

Score prediction for Tuesday? The last time the two club’s met at Prenton Park was in mid-January as Charlie Jolley netted a brace. Rovers won 2-0. 

I’m expecting quite a close game. Think Tranmere will edge a 1 nil win though.

If you have been keeping up with Tranmere this season, what are your thoughts on them as Micky Mellon’s men are currently on a good run of form? 

Tranmere was one of my fancied teams to get promoted before the season started. Still fancy you being right up there now as well. Can’t say I have watched Tranmere this season, but looking at your results it seems you are not conceding many and are starting to find some form.

Prenton Park, Tranmere. Rovers’ next three games are all at home against: Rochdale, Carlisle and Stockport. 

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