Ollie Rathbone is eagerly awaiting Wednesday night’s trip to take on Manchester United in round three of the Carabao Cup.
Having come through the United youth system, the midfielder will make his return to Old Trafford to face his former employers, and the 22-year-old is looking forward to it.
“I am really excited. When it got drawn, it was four weeks away so you’re not really thinking about it, but now it’s getting towards the ‘pinch me’ moments,” said Rathbone.
“Coming from the academy at Manchester United, my dream for many years was to play at Old Trafford on a regular basis.
“It didn’t work out in the end, which is okay, because it led me here to Rochdale.
“It will be good to go back and see some old faces who I think very highly of. It will be very special.
“The ground is steeped in history. I have watched so many games there and there have been so many magical footballing moments at that ground.
“There are a lot of lads who I played with still there, so I keep my eye out for them.
“I am always rooting for them to do well, which they do, and they represent the club and the academy very well, which makes me proud.”
Rathbone has been a regular in Brian Barry-Murphy’s side, starting three of the last four games, despite picking up an injury early into pre-season.
The midfielder is confident his injury worries are behind him, as he looks forward to an exciting night for the Dale supporters.
He said: “I was carrying an ongoing injury over the past year, along with a thigh strain in pre-season.
“I think I have got on top of that all now, though. I have started three of the last four games, and I feel fine now.
“The manager has got the players playing under a certain style of football. The boys have all bought into it and enjoy it.
“We have practised it thoroughly throughout the season and are enjoying playing every Saturday and Tuesday.
“We take everything we learn from training straight onto the field which is fulfilling when you get this type of tie to prove yourself.
“It is brilliant for the fans. They deserve this type of tie for the countless long away trips they follow us on.
“They deserve to have a nice night at Old Trafford.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow freeview HERE.