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Wigan Athletic 0 v 5 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 15th December 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Match Preview: Wigan vs Rochdale
Monday, 14th Dec 2020 19:30 by AtThePeake

Dale will look to bounce back from a humbling defeat to Peterborough as they make the short trip to the DW Stadium to take on Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.

Date: Tuesday 15th December 2020
Kick-off: 7:00pm
Venue: DW Stadium

It was a case of Groundhog Day for Dale on Saturday afternoon in Cambridgeshire as a series of individual errors led to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Peterborough United in League One.

Posh had the game wrapped up before half-time mainly thanks to a hat-trick from Jonson Clarke-Harris and with Dale having struggled to execute their possession-based gameplan, conceding two more set-piece goals in the process, it was a frustrating afternoon for players, supporters and manager alike.

Brian Barry-Murphy was uncharacteristically critical of the players in his post-match interview, saying that his players were "surprised by the intensity" of Peterborough's first-half pressing.

"I felt as if we didn't display any personality in the first-half. I didn't feel as if we were aggressive enough with our play and as such was really disappointed. I'm concerned about the way we played in the first-half because I don't think it's a good reflection on us."

The defeat leaves Dale in 20th place in the league table, above the relegation zone on goal difference alone ahead of this pivotal clash against 23rd placed Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.

It also means that the side have won just one of their last ten games in all competitions, a run that has seen them knocked out of both the FA Cup and EFL Trophy as well as slide down the League One table to within a handful of goals of the bottom four.

Now, the players really need to find some form ahead of a run of five games in which they don't have to face any of the current top ten. Should the poor form continue across these fixtures, the league table could make for some grim reading come 2021 as the rather downbeat pre-season predictions made by most media outlets begin to look more and more like a reality.

Ryan McLaughlin was once again missing in action on Saturday with little in the way of explanation and it remains to be seen whether he will return here. There hasn't been any timeline given on the injuries to Gavin Bazunu (hand) or Jake Beesley (head) either at this stage, although it does seem unlikely either will return on Tuesday night.

Worryingly, midfielder Ollie Rathbone does look set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines too, although Paul McShane returned to the squad over the weekend and may be introduced to add some steely experience to a side that have been too easily beaten on more than one occasion this term.

If you're looking for some positives in the head-to-head record, you may want to look elsewhere. Dale have lost their last seven matches against the Latics in a run stretching all the way back to 1997.

After years of living the dream in the Premier League, promotions and success in the lower leagues and even an incredible FA Cup victory back in 2013, Wigan Athletic are one of the latest clubs to be experiencing the horror of potential liquidation and expulsion from the EFL.

When new owners arrived at the club in June and failed to invest promised money, the club were left financially devastated and placed into administration - a decision that saw them deducted 12 points and subsequently relegated from the Championship due to a 12 point deduction that saw them slip from 13th place in the table all the way down to 23rd.

A series of potential bidders for the club have been and gone and as the future of the entire club lies in the balance, the playing squad has been decimated with several players leaving and boss Paul Cook resigning, leaving Leam Richardson in caretaker charge for the current campaign.

With such a mixture of inexperienced youngsters and more seasoned pros with little idea of what the future holds at the club, it's quite remarkable that the Latics, despite sitting in 23rd place in the table, actually come into this match following back-to-back wins in League One.

A 0-1 away win over Sunderland against all of the odds last weekend was followed up by a 4-3 win over a North-West rival in Accrington Stanley this weekend just gone - before another relatively local outfit makes the trip to the DW Stadium on Tuesday night.

There are still some eye-catching names in this Wigan squad, including former Wolves midfielder Lee Evans, ex-Colchester man Gavin Massey and indeed the prolific Joe Garner, who has 138 league goals to his name in a career that has spanned spells with the likes of Nottingham Forest, Preston North End and Watford.

In between the sticks is a man who Dale fans will remember in Jamie Jones, who endured a rather difficult loan spell with the club in 2015, characterised by a dreadful performance in a 3-0 away defeat to local rivals Oldham Athletic.

The league table may suggest this is a very winnable fixture for Dale - but with Wigan having recorded back-to-back wins, there may be some belief within their squad that they can keep picking up points against the odds as the fight to keep the club alive rumbles on.

Wigan Athletic
Accrington Stanley (h) - WIN
Sunderland (a) - WIN
Lincoln City (a) - LOSS
Bristol Rovers (h) - DRAW
Oxford United (h) - LOSS

Peterborough United (a) - LOSS
Lincoln City (h) - LOSS
Plymouth Argyle (a) - WIN
Northampton Town (h) - DRAW
AFC Wimbledon (h) - LOSS
WIGAN - 17
DRAW - 4

08 Mar 1999 - Rochdale 0-2 Wigan Athletic - Auto Windscreens Shield
14 Nov 2015 - Rochdale 0-2 Wigan Athletic - League One
28 Mar 2016 - Wigan Athletic 1-0 Rochdale - League One
24 Feb 2018 - Wigan Athletic 1-0 Rochdale - League One
10 Apr 2018 - Rochdale 1-4 Wigan Athletic - League One

Photo: Action Images

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