Opposition view: Rochdale (H)

Before we look at the game, could you give us a memory from previous games against the Gas?

Nothing stands out about the matches themselves but I do remember one slightly tiddly Bristol Rovers fan being in The Church Inn and singing “We’re shit and we know we are” at the the top of his lungs.

The match hadn’t even started yet. So must’ve been a pretty rough season that year for you.

How has your season been going so far?

We seem to be in some kind of parallel chaos universe where normal score lines have been suspended. Someone asked on one of the Dale forums whether these huge scoreline were entertaining. The resounding answer was no.

Throwing points away in injury time like at Oxford is just frustrating. With Lund, Humphreys and Baah we can definitely score but our defence is in desperate need of some signings. I can’t remember what a LB is!

And what would you say your ambitions are for the rest of the campaign?

Simply to stay in League 1 and it not be another squeaky bum season.

Mid table maybe even with Hendo going to Salford. It was a hope at best.

We’re firmly in squeaky bum territory again so League 1 survival it is.

How is your form coming into the game?

Ha ha ha. Think it’s one win in nine.

Our home form is even more desperate. Can’t remember the numbers but it’s something embarrassing. We need someone to wee in the corners Barry Fry style as somethings going on at the COA.

You’ve seen the big scorelines. We can’t defend a lead no matter how big that lead is and we can also do a spirited comeback see Crewe. Not closing the game out in injury time cost us a point at Oxford and that’s very frustrating.

Matty Done scoring is the thing that stands out! He hasn’t been prolific over the last few years. Probably a little unfair, he has been a great professional for us over the years and has had to fill in at LB. I can’t remember when we last had a LB!

How do you think you’ll setup for our game?

Given our lack of depth and that we’ve only had one player in I can’t see how much we can actually change from the Oxford match. Our bench is very young!

We have been crying out to go more direct on the pitch and avoid the tippy tappy football at the back that gets us in all sorts of trouble.

BBM in his last interview said he’s looked at the league table!? so let’s hope we’ve now developed a Plan B (or C) on the pitch for avoiding relegation.

Any weak links in your side?

See comment re: defensive collapses! We’re very ‘fragile’ in terms of CB’s and the LB position has been a problem not addressed for a while.

If we’re playing tippy tappy at the back we’ll struggle against anyone that’s done their homework and presses us.

Who are your standout players?

Humphrys, Lund and the chaos factor that is Baah.

All kind of transfer rumours flying around about Baah at the moment. Far from being the finished article but there’s definitely something there.

Game prediction

Literally no idea with the way we are at the moment.

I predict a high scoring draw though we desperately need the 3pts off you.

Watch it be nil nil now!

Where do you think you’ll be come the end of the season?

First I would settle for having a club to support given the financial pressures of Covid. I hope comfortably above the drop zone.

We do have goals in us but I think it’ll be squeaking it to safety at the very end. McShane seems to be perpetually injured but maybe he’ll make an end of season come back and shore us up (being very optimistic).