Date: 14th August 2009 at 1:49pm
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After Tuesday night’s Carling Cup disappoinment, Aldershot travel north to take on Keith Hill’s Rochdale at Spotland.

Rochdale enjoyed success over The Shots last season, completing a fairly routine double with a 3-1 win at Spotland and a 4-2 victory at The Rec, when Dale were 4-0 up at the break.

Rochdale, like oursevles, were also knocked out of the cup in midweek, after a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday. After a draw on the opening day of the season, they’ll be itching to get their first win of the season infront of their own fans.

Dale have been in the fourth tier since 1974, but have lost out in the play offs the last two seasons in a row and are expected to be up there again this time round, meaning Saturday’s match will be a tough test for Gary Waddock’s men.

Aldershot made a perfect start to the campaign with a 3-1 home success against Darlington, but a narrow defeat on Tuesday at Bristol Rovers ended their Carling Cup ambitions. Last season’s away form was Aldershot’s weakness and will have to improved this time round if they’re to make any sort of challenge.

All in all, it has the makings of a very intriguing encounter.

Vital Quotes:

Speaking to theshots.co.uk, Gary Waddock said ‘Rochdale is a tough place to go to any time of the year. They are a solid outfit who are regularly around the top part of the table and there is no reason why they won’t be there again.

‘We need to improve our away form from last season and the performance in midweek was encouraging despite the result. We need to create chances in matches and we have done in both matches so far this season. The way we play should enable a number of players to get opportunities to score.’

Rochdale Team News:

Rochdale are without last season’s top scorer Adam Le Fondre after he signed for Rotherham United last week.

Speaking to the Rochdale Observer, manager Keith Hill said ‘As with Glenn Murray and David Perkins, I didn’t want to sell Adam Le Fondre, especially at this late stage of preparation for the season. It will be a test for us, and we will do our best to rise to the challenge. We are what we are financially, and we had to sell Adam. If you are asking me if I wanted to sell him, the answer is categorically ‘no’.’

Ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Hillsborough, Dale were down to just 14 players with Rory McArdle injured, Scott Wiseman ill and Ciaran Toner unavailable.

Player to watch: Joe Thompson

The Rochdale-born midfielder was a constant menace to the Shots’ defence last season, netting no less than four times against us, including a first half hat-trick at The Rec. He was also on the score sheet on the opening day of the season, as Dale drew 1-1 at Port Vale. Having signed a new contract to the end of the 2009/10 season, Thompson will want to continue his progress and with the sale of Adam Le Fondre, could be Rochdale’s biggest threat.

Aldershot Team News:

Ben Herd is still out with an injury picked up in the win against Darlington, while Anthony Charles and Dean Howell are still unavailable.

Waddock commented ‘Ben was unfortunate to pick up a knock versus Darlington and he should be the first to get back. Anthony Charles should be recovered soon but he will need to catch up after he missed three weeks of pre-season training. Dean is a longer-term casualty.’

Player to watch: Marvin Morgan

Marv has made a very impressive start to 2009/10, after two very impressive displays and two goals. His size, strength and pace makes him a handful for any set of defenders and I’m sure Saturday will be no different. It was Morgan who headed Aldershot level in last season’s encounter at Spotland and also got his name on the scoresheet in the 4-2 defeat at The Rec. He’ll be eager to continue his fine form and it could be a long day for Dale’s centre defenders.

Match Prediction:

After both going out of the cup in mid-week, both sides will be eager to get back to winning ways. Rochdale were tough opposition for Aldershot last season and I can see them getting a first win of the season infront of their own fans.

Vital Prediction: Rochdale 2-0 Aldershot.

Next Fixtures:

After Saturday’s encounter, Aldershot’s next opponents will be AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court on Tuesday night. While Rochdale will be at home against recently relegated Cheltenham.