A Greater Manchester derby with huge implications sees Stockport County welcome Rochdale to Edgeley Park this Saturday with the Hatters eyeing up a spot in League One just as the Dale fight for their life down in the bottom three.
Fans of Rochdale have all but accepted a drop into the National League this season with them now eight points behind Crawley Town in 22nd place with just nine points left on the table. It now means a loss for Rochdale would send them crashing into the non-league ranks with them then unable to mathematically turn things around.
Despite having one foot out of the Football League, the Dale have been impressive at times in April with the club defeating Wimbledon 1-0 and then going on to beat Walsall 4-2 a week later. They then drew 1-1 with promotion hopefuls Mansfield, but they fell back to losing ways at home to Bradford City in a 3-0 hammering.
Rochdale went on to draw with Tranmere Rovers 2-2 on Tuesday, as Danny Lloyd scored before Ethan Ebanks-Landell netted a 93rd-minute equaliser that saw the club come from 2-0 down to draw.
In reality, however, the club are all but relegated, and we expect this ordeal to be finalised this weekend by losing to Stockport. As for County, they are flying high by sitting fourth in the league, but they do head into this game off the back of a 1-1 draw with Gillingham and a 2-2 draw with Carlisle United. The Hatters did destroy Newport County 4-0 earlier in April, while also beating Sutton United 1-0 at Gander Green Lane.
This run extends County's unbeaten run to 10 games since losing 1-0 to Barrow at the end of February. They are unlikely to get into second and face automatic promotion, given how Northampton are seven points clear with just nine left to play for. On the other hand, they now have a gap of three points on Salford City in seventh place and it would be quite disastrous if County did not get into the playoffs by this stage in the season.
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