Dale's under 18 side start their Youth Alliance Cup campaign away to Grimsby Town on Saturday morning.
The match, which has an 11am kick-off, is being played at Cheapside, Waltham (DN37 0HT).
It's the youth team's first competitive match for three weeks following a break in fixtures, but Manager Rick Ashcroft explains that they've been keeping momentum going by taking part in two closed door friendlies.
"The games are a big focus and an incentive, and although we can do as much training as we want, it's what we put into practice and what they do on the pitch that counts, so it's important to get them friendlies in where we see fit to give us different challenges and tests which we did when we came up against at Manchester City and Derby. In respect of that, it keeps momentum going."
Goalkeeper Aaron Ashley will miss the match through suspension following his straight red card for handling outside of his area in the league match against Preston North End. Ashcroft says this is an opportunity for one of the under 16s.
"Aaron will be back in contention for the game after Grimsby, but it gives a nice opportunity to Jonny Diba who is an under 16 to come in and play. He has been coming in and being part of the squad as much as possible, and depending on the positions we need available for fixtures, it has meant that there has been quite a lot of under 16s involved already and there will be throughout the year. It's a great opportunity for them to step in early, get into the environment, and learn and develop as quickly as possible. It's all about opportunities at the moment and there are a lot of opportunities for young players coming through."