Rovers take on Rochdale at the Eco-Power Stadium on Thursday night in their final outing of the calendar year.
Danny Schofield’s side are looking for an immediate response after falling to a 3-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers in Sky Bet League Two on Boxing Day.
The last meeting
Rovers beat Rochdale 2-1 at the Crown Oil Arena when the two sides last met back in October. Kieran Agard gave the visitors the lead 39 minutes in, firing home from Kyle Knoyle’s ball into the box.
Dale would go in at the break level though as Scott Quigley got up highest to power a header beyond Jonathan Mitchell in the final minute of the half.
The game proved to be a tight affair and it was another piece of brilliance from Knoyle which secured the win for Rovers with a quarter of the game remaining. The No.2 went on a weaving run and timed his pass to perfection, with George Miller producing a clinical finish to send the away support into raptures and Rovers back over the Pennines with three points in the bag.
Rochdale’s recent form
Jim Bentley’s side have won one of their previous six league matches stretching back to a narrow defeat at Walsall at the end of October.
Their one win in that period came against Salford City, with Ian Henderson’s strike against his former club sealing a crucial three points on home soil. They lost each of their next two fixtures by the odd goal, at home to Mansfield Town and on the road at Sutton United respectively.
December got off to a tough start for Dale as they lost 4-1 against Harrogate Town, before going 23 days between league fixtures. Their last outing was a 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool United on Boxing Day.
Defender Cameron John is a familiar face for Rovers fans after spending three seasons with the club prior to departing in the summer.
John came through the ranks at Wolverhampton Wanderers, and his first taste of the EFL came with Rovers on a season-long loan in the 2019/20 campaign.
Although that season was curtailed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 23-year-old penned a permanent deal at the Eco-Power Stadium that summer. In total, he made 66 appearances in a Rovers shirt, scoring five goals. Having missed the reverse fixture with a hamstring injury, he has returned to the side in recent weeks and will go up against his former club on Thursday night.
37-year-old Ian Henderson returned to Rochdale in the summer after two years with fellow League Two outfit Salford. Since his return, he has written himself into the history books after becoming the club’s all-time record goalscorer with his effort against the Ammies in November.
That header took him to 130 goals for Dale, and he’s added a couple more since to prove once again how important he is to the club. Henderson has now made 365 appearances across his two permanent spells.
Stockport County loanee Scott Quigley has scored four goals so far this season, including the one against Rovers at the Crown Oil Arena in October.
The 30-year-old’s most successful spell of his career to date came during a two-year spell with Barrow. He scored 20 goals in his first season at the club to guide the Bluebirds to promotion to the EFL, before helping them stay there by netting a further 15 times a year later.
Quigley’s physical presence alongside Henderson up top will be key to Rochdale’s survival hopes this season.