Manager Brian Barry-Murphy looks ahead to Dale’s League One fixture v Sunderland at the Crown Oil Arena…
“The players are excited and we can’t wait,” said BBM.
“Last Tuesday night’s game against Bolton was probably a taste to come, in that the away following was huge. Our players were really turned on by that and produced a great performance.
“Tuesday night will be even more difficult against one of the outstanding teams from last season. It's a great opportunity for us to test ourselves early in the season against a team who are going to be at the top of the table, but we feel confident and we're in good form ourselves, and that's our main focus as we lead into the game. We want to try and be as aggressive as possible and pose as many problems as we can on the night for Sunderland.
“They were one of the teams who were relentless last season in the pursuit of points and they got them over a long period of time. They have a very good squad of players and we are under no illusion about how hard a game it’s going to be, but we’re very conscious of the fact that we want to try and be true to ourselves really and put on an attacking display that provides as much action at the other end of the pitch rather defending our own goal for large periods of time. We’ll do everything we can to do that for our own supporters.”
And BBM hopes Dale fans will turn out in their numbers.
“It has been a pretty intense start to the season in terms of the games coming thick and fast, but the guys have been conditioned for this and they have worked extremely hard during pre-season, so they are ready for it. There’s a real element of competitiveness between the squad and we have players coming back into the squad who are going to challenge for places and push the players for every shirt that is available.
“The support has been incredible, and we are hoping that we can get as many supporters through the turnstiles as possible to try and stem the flow of Sunderland’s support. They come in huge numbers, so we’re hoping that we can get as many of our fans in as possible and we can make it a great atmosphere, as we try to put on a proper game of football for them to watch.”
Jimmy Ryan is available for the match after serving a three-match ban, while Rekeil Pyke is again likely to miss out due to a knee injury.
“Rekeil’s knee is not as straightforward as I thought. He’s waiting to be assessed by his parent Club on Monday, and then we’ll know more about the timescale, but I don’t anticipate him being available for Tuesday. Hopefully, it’s not a prolonged absence.”