Assistant Academy PDP Coach Chris Brown says Dale’s under 18 players are “excited” for tonight’s FA Youth Cup game.
Rochdale host Ryton and Crawcrook Albion in the first round of the competition, with the game at the Crown Oil Arena kicking off at 7.30pm.
“All the lads were asking when the date would be, even before the draw was done. I think they had been wishing for a home draw,” said Brown.
“Getting to play on the first team pitch at any stage is a brilliant experience, but to do that in the first round makes it a little more special. The players are here every day around the ground, they watch the first team week in, week out, and now they have the opportunity to play on the pitch.
“All the lads are excited for the fixture, as it's a special occasion for themselves but also for their family members.”
Wednesday’s opponents beat Darlington in the last round of qualifying to progress to the first round proper. Brown says he is expecting a tough encounter and is looking for the young Dale side to put in a good performance.
“Ryton & Crawcrook Albion have played four games in the preliminary rounds to get to this stage which is brilliant, so we are expecting a tough match.
“As a team, we are looking forward to the game and putting in a good performance.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how our performance levels continue, because we have shown a collective quality and a great character over recent weeks.
“I've been really impressed with how the team spirit and togetherness of the group has shone through in our performances, and this has helped towards the results we’ve picked up in the league and the Youth Alliance Cup.”
Spectators can watch the game from the Main Stand and Brown hopes fans will turn out to support the lads.
“It would be great if fans come along to the match and show their support.
“We have a talented bunch and it’s a really good chance for fans to see them play. Hopefully some of these of players will progress into the first team squad.”