Preview: Rochdale v Walsall

It’s been a fairly turbulent week for Rochdale approaching their League One clash against Walsall at Spotland.

Keith Hill’s post-match comments made the headlines in the aftermath of a 4-0 stuffing at the hands of Barnsley on Tuesday evening and Russ Green has since resigned from his role as Chief Executive, having been banned from all football activities for a year in July.

Those charges were related to his time from CEO at Hartlepool United. Moves had already been made to restructure internally following news of Green’s ban last month.

Hill, meanwhile, the boss of matters on the pitch, said fans should call for the chairman to sack him – per the BBC – following Tuesday’s humbling by the Tykes. Dale fell foul of a hattrick from sought after front man, Keiffer Moore.

“If you are going to beat us with a stick, just phone the chairman and say you don’t want Keith Hill to be the manager,” Hill told BBC Radio Manchester on Tuesday evening, following that defeat.

While Dale’s start to the season hasn’t been the most impressive, it hasn’t seemed worthy of the criticism directed by some supporters, especially with so much optimism heading into the new campaign just a couple of weeks ago, having won all of their pre-season friendlies and sold a record high amount of season tickets.

Most of Dale’s problems have come at the back, having failed to keep a clean sheet in the league thus far this season, although Hill has made efforts to remedy that with the loan signing of Liverpool defender, Connor Randall.

The right-back enjoyed a decent loan spell with Hearts in the Scottish Premiership last term and will offer additional competition for places in the backline. He could even be involved against the Saddlers on Saturday.

Walsall have enjoyed a very bright start to the new campaign. Probably a similarly sized club to Dale, Dean Keates’ side find themselves fifth in the League One standings after four games, only dropping points away at now manager-less Scunthorpe United, having parted ways with manager Nick Daws.

The Midlands outfit have defeated Plymouth Argyle, Gillingham and most recently AFC Wimbledon in midweek, but like Dale are yet to complete a shutout in defence in league or cup games this term.

That could point to another end-to-end game, the like of which Dale gained a point from in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Fleetwood Town.

Oddschecker prices Dale as favourties 15/13, the draw is available at 13/5 and the visitors are highly praced at 54/19 to take the three points from The Crown Oil Arena.


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