Assistant manager Chris Beech is certain Rochdale AFC can turn around back-to-back League One defeats and earn a win against in-form Bradford City on Saturday.
Dale travel to the Coral Windows Stadium looking to climb back up the table having been without a victory since their 4-1 triumph over Colchester United in December.
Beech is aware of the threat this weekend’s opposition pose, with the Bantams on a ten-match unbeaten run and currently sat fifth in the league though Rochdale did prevail 4-2 in the last meeting between the sides at Bradford’s ground (see video below).
Speaking to the official club website, Beech said: “They’re in real good rhythm and they look to play and hit their strengths, which is definitely the front two/three.
“They’ve got many different ways of trying to score a goal. They’ve got that physical presence, along with some real technical players behind them.
“Rory McArdle has won the player of the month award, along with Phil Parkinson who has picked up manager of the month, so they’re in real good form.
“But of course, when we’re at our best I think we’re capable of beating anyone in this league. We’ve done that often this season, so we’re obviously looking to do that again on Saturday.”
Rochdale are currently ninth, still in touch with the play-off places despite only being promoted from League Two last season.
Just three points separate Sheffield United in sixth and 15th-placed Doncaster Rovers in a fiercely-contested division.
Manager Keith Hill will welcome the return of key man Stephen Dawson for Saturday’s game, with the combative midfielder having missed the last two fixtures due to injury.
Ian Henderson is also back to bolster Rochdale’s attacking options after recovering from illness.
However, centre-half Jack O’Connell has returned to parent club Blackburn Rovers, opening the door for captain Olly Lancashire to regain his position.
Bradford have extended their loan of ex-Premier League striker Jon Stead from Huddersfield Town, with the 31-year-old remaining at the club until the end of the season.
Mark Yeates and Andrew Davies also both have a chance of making an appearance as they recover from knee and hamstring injuries respectively.
In spite of recent league form, Rochdale are on a high following their FA Cup fourth round win over Nottingham Forest, and have been rewarded with a home tie against Premier League Stoke City.
While stressing that the fixture against Bradford is a priority, Beech has one eye on such a mouth-watering fixture.
He said: “I think the players deserved a challenge of going against a Premier League team and they’re going to be a real big challenge for us.
“Success breeds success and obviously from doing so well to beat Nottingham Forest, it is now being supported by the media [televised on BT Sport], which is really good for the football club financially.
“We’re obviously looking to fill the stadium but we have supporters who don’t live too near to Rochdale and fans who work in different countries, so they have an opportunity to see us play.”
Main image courtesy of Official Rochdale AFC via YouTube, with thanks.