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Preview: Rochdale v Wycombe Wanderers


After suffering three successive defeats in February, Wycombe Wanderers travel to Spotland this weekend hoping to record a third successive victory against Rochdale and surpass the magic 50-point mark.

The side will make the trip full of confidence after snatching all three points with a last-minute winner against Fleetwood Town last weekend. It was a rather scrappy encounter and one which the visitors didn't deserve to lose after enjoying the better of the opening 45 minutes. Goalkeeper Jordan Archer twice made important saves to deny wingers Gareth Evans and Junior Brown before substitute David Ball failed to hit the target from six yards.

The Chairboys improved after the break although the game appeared to be heading towards a goal-less draw until some late pressure from the hosts paid dividends. Defender Anthony Stewart almost found the net when visiting goalkeeper Scott Davies failed to claim a free-kick but striker Jon Parkin got back to head off his own goal-line. Yet from the resulting corner, Stewart headed the ball down and Davies was unable to prevent it from finding the top left-hand corner of the net.

It was a first career goal for Stewart, who was one of two changes made by Gareth Ainsworth following the 2-1 midweek win at Torquay United. The player-boss was the other with winger Bruno Andrade dropping to the bench and winger Joel Grant missing out altogether after picking up an ankle injury. Despite taking all three points the Wanderers remain in 13th place in the League Two table but are now twelve points clear of the bottom two. Three points at the weekend should be enough to ensure that Ainsworth will have successfully met the brief he was set when appointed permanently in November to secure the clubs' Football League status.

His record is impressive with 35 points won from a possible 60, and brings hope that a play-off push could be on the cards next season. The club continues to face huge challenges in restructuring its finances off the field, with news this week that the HMRC had issued them with a winding-up petition last month. The situation has moved on since then and joint-Chairman Don Woodward has reassured supporters by saying 'I'm confident we will get through things and raise the funds we'll require. We won't go to the hearing - we'll sort things out before. The club's aim is to break even next season. Once we're over our current short term issues, things are looking extremely rosy.'

Wycombe Wanderers will be making their 8th visit to Spotland this weekend with the first meeting coming back in April 1994 as Martin O'Neill's side continued their push for automatic promotion in their inaugural Football League campaign. Steve Whitehall put the hosts ahead after just three minutes and it wasn't until twenty minutes from time that Dave Carroll equalised after being teed up by Tony Hemmings. Substitute Jon Bowden restored Dale's lead six minutes later when his shot deflected past Paul Hyde but the Chairboys snatched a dramatic last minute equaliser when Simon Garner bundled the ball home from two yards after Glyn Creaser had headed the ball down.

It would almost eleven years before the Wanderers returned to Spotland, this time under John Gorman in March 2005. Nathan Tyson grabbed an equaliser two minutes into the second half, cancelling out Gary Jones' first-half penalty to ensure the spoils would be shared in a 1-1 draw. Less than five months later the sides renewed acquaintances with Gorman's side putting in the one of their best performances in many a season. First half goals from Mike Williamson and Matt Bloomfield gave the visitors a two-goal lead at half-time but they should have been further ahead and had to endure a nervy finish after the home side pulled one back through a Jones' penalty.

There was controversy when the two sides met again in September 2006 after loan goalkeeper Ricardo Batista escaped with just a yellow card after handling outside his area. Within three minutes Tommy Mooney had put the visitors ahead and Paul Lambert's side survived a spell of sustained pressure before adding a second goal in injury-time through substitute Jonny Dixon. A solitary goal decided the meeting in February 2008 with striker Leon Knight's 14th-minute strike enough to keep Lambert's Blues on course for a play-off place in League Two.

The clash in September 2008 was also decided by just a single goal and it was Chris Zebroski who got it as he notched his first for the club in a 1-0 victory as Peter Taylor's side continued their fine start to the season. The last meeting between the two sides came in October 2011 with both now competing in League One. Scott Donnelly gave the visitors an early lead but Ashley Grimes levelled soon afterwards and then grabbed the winner midway through the second half as Gary Waddock's side continued their poor start to the campaign.

Gareth Ainsworth is unlikely to make too many changes to the side this weekend although he may well drop himself back to the bench. Bruno Andrade has recovered from an ankle knock and is the most likely to come into the team. Winger Joel Grant is rated 50:50 after picking up an ankle injury during the win at Torquay United last month. Defenders Marvin McCoy and Leon Johnson haven't even made the bench in the past two games but striker Dennis Oli and teenage winger Junior Morias are likely to be included once again.

Defender Gary Doherty is back in full training after recovering from surgery on his back but there is no news on when he will return to the squad. A trio of players remain in the treatment room and are unlikely to play again this season. Midfielder Matt Bloomfield is still struggling with a pelvic shear which is preventing him from training whilst defender Danny Foster is recovering from a second operation on his knee. Full-back Grant Basey continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his anterior cruciate ligaments.

Here's the current list of players availability...

Joel Grant (Winger) - doubtful (rated 50:50 with an ankle injury)

Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - doubtful (returned to training the week before last after recovering from back surgery)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - ruled out with a groin injury (no timescale given for a return to first team action)

Danny Foster (Right Back) - ruled out with a knee injury (undergone a second operation and is unlikely to play again this season)

Grant Basey (Left Back) - ruled out with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (continues his rehabilitation following surgery and won't play again this season)

The Chairboys starting eleven should look something like this (4-4-2):

Jordan Archer

Michael Harriman - Anthony Stewart - Dave Winfield - Charles Dunne

Bruno Andrade - Josh Scowen - Stuart Lewis - Sam Wood

Dean Morgan - Matt McClure

Subs: Lee Harrison, Kortney Hause, Gareth Ainsworth, Matt Spring, Junior Morais, Dennis Oli, Jo Kuffour


Rochdale suffered a similar fate to the Blues last season as they were relegated from League One and they have endured a tough campaign this time around. John Coleman was sacked as manager back in January and replaced by former boss Keith Hill. He hasn't done much better in the seven games since taking back the reigns, winning just once and the Dale have crashed to back-to-back 3-0 defeats at home to Accrington Stanley and away to Morecambe in the last two games. They currently sit in 17th place in the League Two table, six points behind the Wanderers.

Hill has strengthened his squad with the recent signings of full-back Joe Thompson, central midfielder Ritchie Jones and winger Ian Henderson and they could all come into the starting line this weekend. Captain and defender Peter Cavanagh is doubtful with a calf injury whilst goalkeeper Matthew Edwards and defender Reece Gray remain sidelined following wrist surgery and a broken leg respectively. There isn't a single former Chairboy in the Dale squad.

Rochdale could line up like this: (4-4-2):

Josh Lillis

Rhys Bennett - Shane Cansdell-Sherriff - Phil Edwards - Michael Rose

Brian Barry-Murphy - Jason Kennedy - Ritchie Jones - Ian Henderson

Bobby Grant - Terry Gornell

Subs: Steve Collis, Joe Rafferty, Joe Thompson, Kevin McIntyre, Andy Haworth, Ashley Grimes, George Donnelly


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 13th place with 48 points and Rochdale in 17th spot with 42 points, both sides having played 35 games.


Rochdale Home Record....W 5 - D 5 - L 7 - Pts 20...Ppg 1.18 (Rank-19)

Wycombe Away Record....W 7 - D 2 - L 8 - Pts 23...Ppg 1.35 (Rank-7)


Rochdale's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Northampton (A)..........Lost 1-3

Lg2: Torquay (H)................Won 1-0

Lg2: Barnet (A).................Drew 0-0

Lg2: Accrington (H).............Lost 0-3

Lg2: Morecambe (A)...........Lost 0-3


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Bradford (H)...............Lost 0-3

Lg2: Bristol Rovers (A)........Lost 0-1

Lg2: Southend (H)..............Lost 1-2

Lg2: Torquay (A)................Won 2-1

Lg2: Fleetwood (H).............Won 1-0


Rochdale Goal Stats (40 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 49...Cups: 7...Total: 56

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 57...Cups: 9...Total: 66

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 20...Cups: 6...Total: 26

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 20...Cups: 8...Total: 28

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 8.....Cups: 0...Total: 8

Failed to score...................Lg: 9.....Cups: 1...Total: 10


Wycombe Goal Stats (39 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 42...Cups: 4...Total: 46

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 47...Cups: 8...Total: 55

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 20...Cups: 4...Total: 24

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 28...Cups: 8...Total: 36

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 11...Cups: 0...Total: 11

Failed to score...................Lg: 10...Cups: 2...Total: 12


Rochdale's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Bobby Grant..........13

Ashley Grimes.......10

Andrew Tuttle.........8

Dele Adebola..........6

Terry Gornell..........5

Jason Kennedy.......5

George Donnelly.....3

Two other players have each scored 2 goals.

Two other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Matt McClure...........10

Joel Grant................8

Dean Morgan............8

Sam Wood...............3

Gareth Ainsworth......2

Bruno Andrade.........2

Jo Kuffour................2

Dave Winfield...........2

OG..........................2

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Kortney Hause.........1

Josh Scowen............1

Matt Spring..............1

Anthony Stewart......1


Rochdale Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Bobby Grant........55 on-target...48 off-target...8 against woodwork

Andrew Tuttle......35 on-target...39 off-target...3 against woodwork

George Donnelly..24 on-target...34 off-target...0 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......28 on-target...28 off-target...6 against woodwork

Joel Grant...........20 on-target...24 off-target...0 against woodwork

Matt McClure.......19 on-target...21 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Rochdale....215 on target...237 off target...17 against w'work (Rank-1)

Wycombe...144 on target...164 off target.....9 against w'work (Rank-21)


Most Assists

Rochdale - Jason Kennedy.......9

Wycombe - Josh Scowen..........6


Discipline - All Comps

Rochdale......6 Red Cards - 62 Yellow Cards

Wycombe.....5 Red Cards - 59 Yellow Cards


League Form Guide

All Season


Rochdale....Pld: 35...W: 11...D: 9...L: 15...Pts: 42...Pts per game: 1.20

Wycombe...Pld: 35...W: 14...D: 6...L: 15...Pts: 48...Pts per game: 1.37


First-half of the season

Rochdale.....Pld: 23...W: 9...D: 6...L: 8....Pts: 33...Ppg: 1.43 (Rank-11)

Wycombe....Pld: 23...W: 7...D: 5...L: 11...Pts: 26...Ppg: 1.13 (Rank-19)


Second-half of the season

Rochdale......Pld: 12...W: 2...D: 3...L: 7...Pts: 9....Ppg: 0.75 (Rank-23)

Wycombe.....Pld: 12...W: 7...D: 1...L: 4...Pts: 22...Ppg: 1.83 (Rank-5)


Last Five league Games

Rochdale.......LWDLL - 4 points (Rank-22)

Wycombe......LLLWW - 6 points (Rank-16)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Rochdale........LLDWL - 4 points (Rank-21)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe....WDWLW - 10 points (Rank-3)


Against Top Half Opposition

Rochdale......Pld: 18...Pts: 20...Pts per game: 1.11...(Rank-14)

Wycombe.....Pld: 17...Pts: 17...Pts per game: 1.00...(Rank-15)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Rochdale......Pld: 17...Pts: 22...Pts per game: 1.29...(Rank-20)

Wycombe.....Pld: 18...Pts: 31...Pts per game: 1.72...(Rank-9)


First 45 mins v Second 45 mins - Performance Comparison

First-Half


Rochdale......W: 9....D: 16...L: 10...Ppg: 1.23 (Rank-17)

Wycombe.....W: 12...D: 11...L: 12...Ppg: 1.34 (Rank-8)


Second-Half

Rochdale.......W: 8.....D: 16...L: 11...Ppg: 1.14 (Rank-18)

Wycombe......W: 10...D: 12...L: 13...Ppg: 1.20 (Rank-14)


League Goals scored in First-Half

Rochdale.........22 (45%) (Rank-8)

Wycombe........22 (52%) (Rank-8)


League Goals scored in Second-Half

Rochdale.........27 (55%) (Rank-11)

Wycombe........20 (48%) (Rank-19)


League Goals conceded in First-Half

Rochdale.........24 (42%) (Rank-21)

Wycombe........21 (45%) (Rank-12)


League Goals conceded in Second-Half

Rochdale.........33 (58%) (Rank-24)

Wycombe........26 (55%) (Rank-13)


Record when scoring the first goal

Rochdale scored first..16 times (W:10 - D:2 - L:4)...Ppg: 2.00 (Rank-19)

Wycombe scored frst..18 times (W:11 - D:4 - L:3)...Ppg: 2.06 (Rank-18)


Record when conceding the first goal

R'dale conceded first...14 times (W:1 - D:2 - L:11) Ppg: 0.36 (Rank-18)

Wyc'be conceded first..15 times (W:3 - D:0 - L:12) Ppg: 0.60 (Rank-8)


Previous Meetings

In 15 previous meetings there have been 6 wins for Wycombe, 5 for Rochdale and 4 draws.

At Spotland the tally is 4 wins for the Chairboys, 1 for the Dale and 2 draws.

1993/94: Lg2 Rochdale 2 Wycombe 2

1993/94: Lg2 Wycombe 1 Rochdale 1

2004/05: Lg2 Wycombe 0 Rochdale 3

2004/05: Lg2 Rochdale 1 Wycombe 1

2005/06: Lg2 Rochdale 1 Wycombe 2

2005/06: Lg2 Wycombe 3 Rochdale 0

2006/07: Lg2 Rochdale. 0 Wycombe 2

2006/07: Lg2 Wycombe 1 Rochdale 1

2007/08: Lg2 Wycombe 0 Rochdale 1

2007/08: Lg2 Rochdale 0 Wycombe 1

2008/09: Lg2 Rochdale 0 Wycombe 1

2008/09: Lg2 Wycombe 0 Rochdale 1

2011/12: Lg1 Rochdale. 2 Wycombe 1

2011/12: Lg1 Wycombe 3 Rochdale 0

2012/13: Lg2 Wycombe 1 Rochdale 2


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is David Phillips from West Sussex who was promoted to the National List of Refeees in 2008. Earlier this season he took charge of Wycombe's goalless draw at Aldershot. During the current campaign he's issued 7 red and 97 yellow cards in 26 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Rochdale 0 Wycombe 1

Len: Rochdale 1 Wycombe 1




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 7 2013

Time: 2:06PM

 

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