Plymouth Argyle will hope to take momentum from the FA Cup victory over Lincoln at the weekend into their League One fixture against Rochdale. We had the pleasure of being joined by Rochdale fan Aiden for our Opposition View.
First of all, how did you get into supporting Rochdale?
I think I’m part of the majority in that my taste in football team originates from a parent. It’s fortunate really that my dad, from Portsmouth originally, watched a Dale game with his mates as a one off shortly after making the trip up north and found himself there as a season ticket holder the following season.
Are there any Rochdale players in particular we should be looking out for?
Oliver Rathbone is the first name that comes to mind when I read this question, the quick box-to-box midfielder loves to turn an opposition player and drive at defenders and has done it very successfully over recent years, so much so that Dale had to reject multiple bids from newly found League One outfit Hull in the summer. He is the heartbeat of the team going forward and most successful attacks start with him.
The second player is Stephen Humphrys, a former loanee favourite who has returned permanently to the delight of everybody around the club. Fans fell in love with Humps during his loan spell a couple of seasons ago; one of his best moments was scoring a goal at Wembley against Spurs in a FA Cup Round 5 replay. He’s a big physical striker who surprisingly is better on the deck than in the air. He picked up an injury at the beginning of season meaning he’s missed most of it up to this point but returned with a bang last Tuesday scoring the equaliser against Northampton with a tricky freekick.
What have you made of your start to the season so far?
It’s a strange one, I feel the performances don’t match the results and we find ourselves seeing most of the ball and being the better of the two sides for large portions of games. But too many times this season we’ve been the better side and have conceded against the run of play, Sunderland, Bristol Rovers, Northampton to name a few.
Oh and don’t get me started on corners… we just can’t defend corners AT ALL.
And what would you say your ambitions are for the rest of the campaign?
Staying up has always been the only goal, our budget in comparison to 75% of this league is tiny, even more so now with the pandemic, and every year we’re favourites to go down. Nevertheless our performances have been better this year and with Humphrys coming back I’m confident we can hopefully avoid a dogfight this year
What sort of tactical style do you expect to set up with on Tuesday?
We play a heavy possession-based game with a lot of passing round the back and waiting for an opening, using players like Rathbone to switch the burners on at random points in play to try and throw opposition off.
And are there any real weak links in the side you’re worried about?
We lack width. We have fullbacks that are either young or not traditionally fullbacks so we don’t see them bombing up the line to help add something to our attacks and our system doesn’t have wingers. We have attacking midfielders that at times find themselves out wide but it isn’t natural. We’re a decent side with the system we use but if it hasn’t been our day or we are struggling to break sides down (usually after being down to a corner goal we’ve conceded) we can do with some extra width, and other than a young Kwadwo Baah we lack options from the bench.
What first comes to mind when you think of Plymouth Argyle?
A team that always seems to do well against us, a side we haven’t beat since 2014 I believe. Honestly not seen much of you this year, football is a lot harder to follow now with iFollow being the new normality. Look to be having a up and down season same as us with some good wins and some forgettable losses but I keep seeing Jephcott’s name and he sounds a handful.
Which Argyle player, if any, would you like to sign?
Ben Reeves is player I’ve admired for a while, a player who’s never seemed to get the credit he deserves and I’d be buzzing if we ever got the chance to sign him. I’d mention other players but, considering they’ve had careers at Bury, I can’t really!
What are your predictions for League One in general this year?
Can’t see the top 6 changing from what it is now, I do feel there’s a few up there that can win the league but honestly feel Hull’s squad is just leaps and bounds above most clubs at this level and that really shows the gap between League One and the Championship
The relegation battle will be as juicy as normal by the looks of things with yet again multiple teams looking over their shoulders. I believe there’s at least 6/7 teams who genuinely run the risk of relegation which you don’t usually get across most leagues
And finally, what is your prediction for the game itself?
Seeing as our record against you has been poor for years anything other than a defeat I’d take. I want to see us start fast and play with a good tempo like we did against Fleetwood and Sunderland and if we could not concede if we find ourselves on top that would be great too. And if you get a corner YOU WILL SCORE FROM IT.