harriers-online match preview
25th February 2005  
At Spotland
26/2/05    3:00pm
It seems like an eternity since we had that fantastic ten man win at fellow strugglers Cambridge Utd but in fact it was just under four weeks ago.  That should have been the hoped for kick start to our relegation fight but since then we have picked up just the one point out of a possible twelve.

This weekend we face a tough battle to get any points at all from a Rochdale side on the edge of the play-offs.  Although we know they can be beaten, as they soundly were at Macclesfield last Saturday, we also know that it won't be our turn to mete out a thrashing after such God awful displays since the Cambridge victory.

Now we're seven points adrift of Rushden I think we have to go out and attack! attack! attack! in an effort to bow out gracefully.  We know the defence are not capable of keeping us up and we could end up losing games 6-4, 5-3 or 4-3 but by the same token we could end up grabbing a load of early goals that so demoralises the opposition that they just give up.  Then again Shrewsbury didn't give up!

To spice up our attack a bit more Stuart Watkiss has finalised the deal that brings Mark Rawle here from Oxford for the remainder of the season.  This tall powerhouse of a striker doesn't score that many goals but he does have the knack of scoring important ones and if he was to score a few for us how much more important could they be.

He'll basically replace Gary Birch who should have had his knee operation by now and he should, at least, be on the bench at Spotland.

Another one likely to miss the game could be the brilliant Johnny Mullins.  He was taken off against Bristol Rovers with a pulled hamstring and is very doubtful for the game.

Other news from our camp is that defender Chris McHale is set to join Redditch on loan for the rest of the season and also that Stuart Watkiss is not a happy bunny about Abdou Salls reluctance to join up with Lincoln City and so enable Ciaran Toner to join us.

Toner is 'surplus to requirements' at Sincil Bank following a bust up with Marcus Richardson over a racial comment that Toner was supposed to have made.  Richardson, who has now joined our hosts on Saturday, gave Toner a shiner in reply and both were immediately suspended by the club.

Up in Greater Manchester, Rochdale have few injury worries for the game with Darryl Burgess out for the rest of the season after tearing his ankle ligaments in training and first choice keeper Neil Edwards is out following a hernia operation some weeks back.

Deadly striker, Grant Holt, returned to training on Thursday morning after recovering from the deadleg he picked up against Macclesfield Town last weekend so he'll be all out to give us grief.

As I said at the start I'm not hopeful of a result but I'm prepared to be proved wrong.


Harriers from:
Danby, Lewis, Burton, Mullins, Billy Jones, Sall, Weaver, Jackson, Bennett, Hatswell, McHale, Beardsley, McGrath, Jenkins, Keates, Cozic, Gleeson, Sturrock, Birch, Christie, Rawle, Foster, Russell.

Rochdale from:
Gilks, Evans, Gallimore, Cooksey, Griffiths, Bertos, Holt, Tait, Gary Jones, Goodall, Heald, Lambert, Clarke, Townson, Kitchen, Richardson, McGivern, Gibbins, Brown, Woodhall, Warner.
Previous games against Rochdale
Harriers score first
2004 - 05
2 - 1
2003 - 04
0 - 1
1 - 0
2002 - 03
0 - 0
1 - 0
2001 - 02
4 - 1
0 - 2
2000 - 01
0 - 0
0 - 0

links to some
rochdale websites:

official site
rochdale afc.com
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