From Turin and a comeback and performance to remember, to Rochdale in the FA Cup 5th Round on Sunday afternoon. Few previews of this game won’t start with “Down to earth with a bump” or similar.
Whilst we were busy embarrassing the Old Lady on Tuesday night Rochdale were losing 3-2 at Bristol Rovers, a defeat which unfortunately for them puts them bottom of League One. Both their goals were scored by top scorer Ian Henderson, his 7th and 8th of the season. Judging by reports it was a plucky performance from the away side who if you believe all of the recent coverage will have been shocked by the sight of some grass on the pitch at the Memorial Ground.
The condition of the Spotland playing surface has been much in the news of course. Pochettino will have been extremely relieved to hear that it has been resurfaced ahead of Sunday’s game – meaning perhaps that clods and divots will be much in evidence rather than mud.
Because of their cup run Rochdale have an amazing 5 games in hand on the teams in the last two safe places in the division Oldham & Northampton, who are 19th & 20th respectively. They are 11 points behind though so will need to find some consistent form to have a chance of survival.
The Dale have won 4 games in the FA Cup this season thus far compared to a total of 5 in the league.
The absence of a midweek game before we take on Palace on Monday week means that Poch has a licence to play pretty much who he wants but a fair guess might be Vorm/Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Rose, Toby, Foyth, Wanyama, Winks, Lucas, Llorente, Son and AN Other. Eriksen? Sissoko? On paper this is a good enough team to cope and see us through to the quarter finals but the experience of Rodney Lane is still fresh in the memory so we may see a stronger line-up than that.
Bobby Madley is the referee which is good in terms of players hopefully getting a level of protection they’re used to as well as being an omen as he’s taken charge of three of our matches thus far this season and we’ve won them all without conceding a goal. It’d be a surprise to all concerned if this run didn’t continue.
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