Robbie Stockdale is expecting a tough test when Dale travel to Hartlepool United on Wednesday night.
Pools were 1-0 winners over League One side Lincoln City in the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend, in what was their new manager, Graeme Lee’s, second game in charge of the club.
“I know Spike [Graeme Lee] who has just taken over the manager’s job,” said Stockdale.
“He’s been in Academy football for some time and deserves the opportunity – I’m really pleased to see him get the chance to manage Hartlepool.
“It will be a difficult game; conditions will be tough up in the North East. It’s where I’m from, so I expect it to be cold, windy and horrible!
“It will be tough because it’s his first home game and I think the fans will come out in force to support him.
“He’s had a couple of really good results already, both in cup competitions, and he’ll want to carry that on in his first league game.
“We’re expecting a really tough game, but I think they will be as well after watching our game.
“It’s maybe the first time I’ve come up against someone who’s just come into the job. I’m sure the players will be wanting to impress him so that adds an extra spice to it.
“We go there in decent form, on the back of some good performances, and we want to impose our style on the game, but we obviously have to respect Hartlepool and the players they’ve got as well.”
With Dale’s cup tie against Plymouth Argyle moved to the Sunday for broadcast purposes, the midweek trip to Hartlepool was pushed back by 24 hours to the Wednesday, which the gaffer says could factor in to team selections for the game at the Suit Direct Stadium and at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
“It can change the way we think in terms of picking teams that keeps players fresh and getting players onto the pitch that I think can win every game. That might come into my thinking.
“We’ve got good options to rotate players. I’m also conscious that, as a player, you want to keep on playing and get that momentum into your game.
“So I’ll have a think, make a decision on Wednesday morning, and go from there.”
Watch the full pre-match interview with Stockdale, where he also discusses Abraham Odoh’s contract extension, below.