|Rochdale 0 v 2 Lincoln City|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 5th December 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Rochdale vs Lincoln
Friday, 4th Dec 2020 18:26 by AtThePeake
Groundstaff will be hoping that the snow is kept at bay as Dale look to welcome Lincoln to Spotland on Saturday afternoon.
Date: Saturday 5th December 2020
Well, who exactly saw that coming on Tuesday night? Heading to Devon, Dale were on the back of an eight game winless streak in all competitions and as a result, flirting with the bottom four - remaining above the drop zone on goal difference alone.
And to make matters worse, their opponents were a Plymouth Argyle outfit that boasted one of the best home records in the whole of the Football League, but that record was blown out of the water by a rampant Rochdale outfit.
An early goal from Jake Beesley set Dale on their way to a remarkable away win, with further goals from Aaron Morley, Jimmy Keohane and Stephen Humphrys adding a real gloss to a coupon-busting scoreline with the visitors eventually running out 0-4 winners.
As a result, the league table is looking a little more comfortable ahead of the visit of Lincoln City to Spotland on Saturday afternoon. The worry however, is that of Dale's four league wins so far this season, only one has come at Spotland, against Fleetwood Town back in the first week of October.
With calls from supporters for more attacking football in recent weeks, the return of Stephen Humphrys to the side has certainly added more impetus to the attacking play and his header on Tuesday made it two goals from two games after a stunning free-kick rescued a point in the home draw with Northampton the week previous.
Thankfully, although the treatment of the Dale striker led to a lengthy stoppage in play, Beesley was conscious and able to leave the hospital the day after, although it seems highly unlikely that he will be fit to feature in this game after that blow.
Tolaji Bola remained on the bench at Plymouth, with Jimmy Keohane starting at left-back and Ryan McLaughlin at right-back and aside from a change for Beesley, it's likely to be the same starting XI that plays in this game on Saturday afternoon. Who comes in for the striker remains to be seen, although both Fabio Tavares and Kwadwo Baah will be hoping for a rare start here.
Dale's last three league fixtures at home to Lincoln City have ended in draws - will the outcome be the same this weekend or can the confidence of that win in Devon lead to another welcome three points on Saturday afternoon?
The former Oxford and Portsmouth manager has plenty of lower league campaigns under his belt as a boss now and although it can't have been easy to replace Danny Cowley at Sincil Bank after his predecessor managed two promotions in his time with the club, Appleton's methods do appear to be working this season.
Having languished in non-league for several seasons, the Imps won promotion back to League Two in 2016/2017, were beaten by Exeter City in the play-offs in the campaign after before winning the title in 2018/2019, making Cowley's departure a difficult one to accept for supporters at the start of the last campaign.
However, having steadied the ship last season, leading to a 16th placed finish in the PPG table, Appleton now has his sights set a little higher, which is remarkable for a club that spent so long in the non-league doldrums prior to Cowley's arrival.
As things stand the Imps sit in second place in the League One table, with back-to-back wins against Swindon Town and Wigan Athletic over the last two weeks dispelling any thoughts that the side were hitting a slump after a three game losing streak.
Having had the summer to finally work on his squad, Appleton has made some very impressive additions, not least goalscoring centre-back Lewis Montsma from FC Dordrecht as well as the experienced Liam Bridcutt from Nottingham Forest.
Add to that a couple of exciting loan players such as Brennan Johnson, also from Forest, and Callum Morton of West Bromwich Albion and it's not difficult to see why the Imps are riding high at the top of the table.
Later this season, Dale will make their return to Sincil Bank for the first time in over 10 years, which is remarkable given that these two clubs have faced off over 100 times in all competitions. For now though, they will look to make more of the home advantage even without a crowd at the Crown Oil Arena.
17 Jan 2009 - Rochdale 2-2 Lincoln City - League Two
Photo: Action Images
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