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Preview: Oldham Athletic vs. Rochdale - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Oldham Athletic vs. Rochdale - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's League Two clash between Oldham Athletic and Rochdale, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Saturday's League Two action includes a huge rivalry between Oldham Athletic and Rochdale, with the two neighbours set to do battle at Boundary Park.

The clash is big for other reasons too though, with both sides in the middle of a relegation battle at the foot of the fourth tier.

Match preview

Oldham finally returned to league action last weekend when they took on Harrogate Town for their first League Two fixture since New Year's Day.

However, it was an unhappy return for the Latics though, as they fell to a 3-0 defeat to extend their winless spell to eight league matches.

The humbling loss was enough to end Selim Benachour's interim spell in charge of the club, with the hierarchy then opting to appoint John Sheridan as permanent manager for a remarkable sixth time including caretaker spells.

It was just the latest controversial moment in a dreadful season of events so far for Saturday's visitors, as all of the trouble off the pitch has contributed to an awful campaign on the pitch as well.

Heading into the weekend rooted to the bottom of the League Two table and seven points from safety already, Sheridan has an incredibly difficult task in steering his side away from an inevitable drop out of the Football League.

In order to attempt a remarkable survival effort, Sheridan and Oldham could not ask for a much better opportunity to get the whole club fired up than their derby clash with rivals Rochdale on Saturday.

Meanwhile, whilst their neighbours find themselves in a desperate situation at the foot of the table, Saturday's visitors Rochdale are not in such a poor state, but are also not clear from danger either.

In fact, the Dale's current position of 18th sets them just five places clear of the drop zone, although they do at least have a nine-point cushion over Scunthorpe United in there.

Manager Robbie Stockdale will be eager to finish the season strongly in order to avoid an uncomfortable finish to the campaign though, and his side will need to improve on their two showings in the New Year so far.

After seeing their four matches over the festive period and New Year postponed, Rochdale have since returned to action with a 2-0 defeat at Tranmere Rovers, before playing out a goalless draw at home to Bradford City last weekend.

As a result, Rochdale have picked up just one win in their last nine fixtures in all competitions, so a defeat to their rivals on Saturday could leave the visitors looking over their shoulders with increased concern in the coming weeks.

Oldham Athletic League Two form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Oldham Athletic form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L

Rochdale League Two form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Rochdale form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Returning boss Sheridan will do without backup striker Zachary Dearnley on Saturday, with the 23-year-old leaving the club by mutual consent on Thursday.

First-choice goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler will also be absent, as he will be away on international duty with Canada.

Danny Rogers is set to deputise in between the posts, whilst Alex Hunt will be hoping to make back-to-back starts after making his debut last weekend following his arrival on loan from Sheffield Wednesday.

As for the visitors, new signing Luke Charman will remain absent due to suspension on Saturday, as he awaits his debut for the club.

Josh Andrews is likely to miss out after picking up a potentially serious injury against Bradford last week, whilst Liam Kelly and Aidan White will need to be assessed ahead of the short trip after they too were substituted off due to injuries in the same game.

Matt Done is almost certain to lead the line in the absence of Charman and Andrews, whilst Max Clark should replace White at left wing-back should he miss out.

Oldham Athletic possible starting lineup:
Rogers; Adams, Clarke, Piergianni, Hart; Hunt, Whelan; Vaughan, Keillor-Dunn, Couto; Bahamboula

Rochdale possible starting lineup:
Coleman; Downing, O'Connell, Dorsett; Broadbent, Dooley, Kelly, Clark; Odoh, Done, Grant

We say: Oldham Athletic 1-1 Rochdale

A feel-good factor around Oldham with the return of popular manager Sheridan, as well as his first match being a derby against local rivals Rochdale, means we can see the home side managing to pick up at least a point in this one.

Both sides are in poor form though, and have struggled to score many goals of late, so a nervy but feisty encounter is to be expected with little action in front of goal, and so we are predicting a draw.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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1Forest Green RoversForest Green341911464293568
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3Sutton UnitedSutton34169953391457
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5Mansfield TownMansfield32168844341056
6Tranmere RoversTranmere35168113830856
7Swindon TownSwindon341510957411655
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18Carlisle UnitedCarlisle34910152846-1837
19Colchester UnitedColchester35812153349-1636
20Leyton Orient33714124236635
23Oldham AthleticOldham33710163451-1731
24Scunthorpe UnitedScunthorpe35412192459-3524
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12Leicester CityLeicester2596104043-333
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14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle26610103046-1628
16Leeds UnitedLeeds2758142961-3223
20Norwich CityNorwich2745181658-4217
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