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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Big Match Preview

Rochdale vs. FC United of Manchester
Friday November 5, 19:45, Spotland

You can expect fireworks both on and off the pitch this Guy Fawkes Night as the FA Cup proper kicks off with a tasty looking local affair involving Rochdale and FC United of Manchester.

It pits the Non League club borne out of the frustration of disenchanted Manchester United supporters against one of the many smaller Football League outfits in the North West.

With plenty of away supporters from the well-supported club expected to descend on Spotland, an electric atmosphere is expected as they seek to claim a famous scalp.

This is actually the first time that FCUM, who were only formed in 2005, have made it through to the First Round of the Cup.

On their path they've seen off the likes of Radcliffe Borough, Gainsborough, Norton & Stockton, and then more than 3,000 saw them defeat Conference side Barrow to earn their trip to Dale.

They currently play in the Northern Premier Division, where they lie in mid table in 15th position. It's been an inconsistent season for Karl Marginson's men so far though - with six wins and six defeats from their 12 matches.

Key men for the Red Rebels if they're to cause an upset include top scorer Mike Norton, who has bagged 12 goals to date.

Experienced former Football League striker Glynn Hurst - who played for Dale's local rivals Bury - is another to watch with five goals in eight appearances this term.

Will Rochdale boss Keith Hill still be smiling come full time tomorrow?

For their opponents, Friday evening's game will represent a rare occasion this season when they go into the match as firm favourites.

Currently enjoying life in League One for the first time in over 30 years, Keith Hill's men have made a surprisingly encouraging start to life in the third tier.

They currently sit in mid-table and are just three points off the play off positions. Along the way too, they have achieved some notable scalps - beating highly tipped duo Southampton and Huddersfield.

After a poor end to last season's promotion campaign and a difficult summer in the transfer market, Hill will be pleased with his team's progress as they look to consolidate in League One.

A switch in tactics has been key to Dale's season so far - and has brought the best out of long-serving captain Gary Jones, currently the team's top scorer with seven to his name.

Striker Chris O'Grady has also chipped in with five and is a difficult prospect for opposition defences.

With the television cameras in attendance, obviously some people are anticipating a potential upset as well as an entertaining encounter.

However, with Dale comfortable in their division, a Cup run would be a welcome addition to their season and I expect home advantage and the four divisions difference to see them through.

Nobes' Prediction: Rochdale 3 FC United of Manchester 1

1 comment:

  1. I really feared for 'Dale after their underwhelming finish to last season but they have been bright and breezy. Although it would be fascinating to see FCUM progress toward the potential dream of a clash with their alter ego, like you, it's hard to fall in love with them as a neutral in the same way as we all did with AFC Wimbledon.