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Town Insider - Rochdale

26 October 2012

Fleetwood Town take a six-match unbeaten away run to Rochdale on Saturday and, for the second time in five days, travel to a ground which hosted League 1 football last season.

By David Mitchell

Fleetwood Town take a six-match unbeaten away run to Rochdale on Saturday and, for the second time in five days, travel to a ground which hosted League 1 football last season.

The Dale ended the campaign bottom of the league after a two year period out of the fourth tier of football where they have spent the majority of their league existence.  It was a 2-1 defeat to Chesterfield which ultimately sealed their fate.   A win for Rochdale on Saturday will bring them level on points with Town. Town manager, Micky Mellon, faces up to a good pal in Dale manager, John Coleman: ‘We have another tough game in prospect on our return to Rochdale. We did what was necessary at Chesterfield and we now move on.  Rochdale have moved into the right part of the table and will give us a stern test.  We know about them from our previous visit in the Johnstone Paint Trophy and will look to counter their threat.’ Town will be without leading scorer, Junior Brown, who interrupts a run of 13 consecutive starts with a suspension following five bookings this season.  Right-back Curtis Obeng is now registered and available for selection, having completed a two-month loan move from Premier League side, Swansea City.  Mellon is delighted to add the former England Youth international to his squad: ‘We welcome Curtis, having kept an eye on him for a while.  He is a fast-paced right-side player who will bring something to our game.’ Town’s injury list has been a discussion point over recent weeks and there appears to be little change in the situation ahead of Saturday: ‘There is no real change to the injury list apart from Andy Mangan,’ added Mellon,’ The lad saw a specialist this week and faces an operation on his knee next Tuesday. We’ll support him all the way through his recovery and make sure he keeps in good spirits in the weeks and months to come.’ Steve McNulty (calf), Shaun Beeley (thigh) and Damien Johnson (hamstring) are all unlikely to feature. Spotland has not been a happy hunting ground for Rochdale this season and Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat of Oxford United was only their second at home in the npower League 2.  Coleman had called for a ‘win at all costs’ and got it.  The victory moved Dale into the play-off positions, an achievement reached largely on the back of four away wins. 67% of their goals scored have come away from home. Coleman recognises that his team must perform more consistently at home, as he told BBC Manchester: ‘We need to get the home fans back on our side and the only way you’ll do that is by showing honest endeavour and a will to win.  We still feel we should be higher in the table.  We’ve thrown some silly points away but I’m sure every team in the league feels the same.’ Rochdale’s first strike on Tuesday came from former Town player, George Donnelly, who moved to Spotland at the start of the season along with another former Highbury player, Peter Cavanagh.  Cavanagh, appointed captain by his former Accrington manager, has been affected by injury which has limited him to seven starts.  Ian Craney makes up a trio of Rochdale players who have worn Town colours. Striker Craig Curran returns to the Rochdale squad following a three-match suspension but midfielder, Ray Putterill, will be absent with a groin injury.  Longer term absentees, Reece Gray and Matty Edwards, are also missing. The sides have already faced each other this season, Rochdale winning a close and entertaining Johnstone Paints Trophy match on penalties in September after the sides drew 2-2 in normal time, both Town goals coming from midfielder Jamie McGuire.  This was the first ever meeting between the teams. Coleman told the club’s website: ‘Fleetwood are a strong side who have done well this season and made the transition to the league quite well.  The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match won’t have any bearing on the game as we will have two different sides out.’ Both sides have both scored 21 times this season.  Town’s defensive record is superior, however, with 13 conceded compared to Dale’s 19. Rochdale have taken 41% of their points at home, Fleetwood 56% of theirs away so the Cod Army will be hopeful that the impressive way record can be maintained in Greater Manchester. Town supporters are welcome in the Dale Bar at the Stadium.  Great atmosphere and excellent beers. Bar is open from 12 noon.

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