John Coleman urges Rochdale players to treat Oxford United clash as cup final to seal first home win

By Aimee Howarth

Rochdale manager John Coleman is treating today’s League Two visit from Oxford United as a cup final as his side seeks their first home victory in six attempts.

The Dale are without Craig Curran, who is serving the final game of a three-match ban, and midfielder Ray Putterill, who is still doubtful with groin problem.

But Coleman has made clear the importance of the fixture as Rochdale look to turn around their performances at Spotland, where they are on a streak of four draws and two losses.

“Our home form hasn’t been the best so I’ve told the players it’s a cup final, we’ve got to treat it like a cup final,” he said..

“We’ve got to go out there all guns blazing and we’ve got to attack them from the off like Plymouth did to us [on Saturday] and maybe then we can win the game in 15 minutes.”

Rochdale welcome Oxford for the first time since 2005 – when the visitors won 1-0 – and have a slight statistical advantage, having won four of their previous encounters to Oxford’s two.

And after losing their last games to Plymouth and Morecambe, Rochdale will be looking to take points from Oxford, who sit in eighteenth, to move into the play-off places.

Oxford are enduring a poor run of their own, chalking up just one victory and five defeats away from home in their last six, and conceding 17 goals in the process.

But they will be buoyed by the return of captain Jake Wright returns from suspension to a side that enjoyed a 5-0 victory over Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

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