Dale head into Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup second round tie against Plymouth Argyle with a lot of confidence, says manager Robbie Stockdale.
His side are eight unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two and have lost just once in the last 11 in all competitions.
“It’s always nice to be in the FA Cup,” said Stockdale.
“It’s the second round, a home tie, on TV, against a team in the division higher, so it will be very difficult.
“But we’re aiming to be in the draw for the next round, exactly like Plymouth will be. Cup football does feel different, its winner takes all, and we’re going into it with a lot of confidence but with the respect that we’re up against a very, very good team.
“At the time of the draw they were top of League One, so it’s the hardest possible game we could have got. But we want to put a performance on as well.
“We’re expecting a difficult game and I’m sure Plymouth are as well, so it’s up to us to try and set some kind of tempo to the game and try to be on the front foot.
“I said when we played Burnley and Shrewsbury Town in the Carabao Cup, both teams in higher divisions, that there will be difficult moments, without a doubt, and in those moments I ask the players to stand up and be counted.
“If we do that – we know we’ve got good players – and with the added extra of being on TV, hopefully we can put on a good performance for everyone to see.
“We’ll approach it similar to how we approach every game. The work on the training on the pitch is the same, we work in and out of possession, the tactical element of how we want to approach it.
“A draw would take us into a replay, which wouldn’t be a bad result for us, but we’re looking to win. It’s not an easy task, but with the players we’ve got, and we feel we’re in good form, we’re looking forward to it. But it’s going to be a very difficult game against a Plymouth team that are flying high.”
Dale have had a few bodies back in training this week, ahead of three games in six days next week.
“Aidy White trained this week. Matty Done has had a full week’s training. He was on the bench against Exeter but that was in case of an emergency, with not being very well during the week.
“Jim McNulty trained today [Friday], so that’s another experienced player back, which is fantastic for us.
“We’re just missing the longer-term ones [Jimmy Keohane and Sam Graham]. Alex Newby will be touch and go. He probably just about misses out, but we’ll be hopeful for Hartlepool on Wednesday.”
Watch the full interview with Robbie Stockdale on our YouTube channel below.