Rochdale will be aiming to climb off the bottom of the League Two table as they host high-flying Carlisle United at the Crown Oil Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts find themselves at the foot of the table, on twenty points, following five wins, five draws and seventeen defeats from their twenty seven league games so far this campaign. However, in what is a very compact bottom half of League Two, Rochdale could climb up to 21st place with a win this weekend.
Despite beginning 2023 in promising fashion, Jim Bentley’s side have recorded back to back defeats and are in dire need of a win. Rochdale managed to navigate their first three games of 2023 without loss as they recorded draws against Newport and Barrow and a victory against Bradford.
However, the Dale’s form was short lived as they have since recorded back to back defeats against Hartlepool and Colchester, who are both involved in the League Two relegation scrap. Rochdale conceded twice on both occasions as they were defeated 2-1 by Colchester and 2-0 by Hartlepool.
After a goalless first-half, Ethan Ebanks-Landell was issued a straight red card for a dangerous tackle. The hosts took full advantage, scoring twice in the next 13 minutes through Josh Umerah and Jack Hamilton to take all three points.
Sam Graham was also sent off in the 90th minute after two bookable offences, meaning Dale ended with a two-man disadvantage. Both Sam Graham and Ethan Ebanks-Landell will be unavailable this weekend through suspension.
Carlisle United currently find themselves inside the League Two playoff places in 4th place, having recorded 45 points from their opening 26 league games. The Blues have the best goal scoring record in the league, having netted 42 times so far this campaign.
The Blues are currently 10 points behind Stevenage in the automatic promotion places so it seems that barring any major slip ups from Stevenage or Leyton Orient, the playoffs will have to be the method of promotion if Carlisle are to achieve promotion.
Paul Simpson’s side come into this tie following an impressive run of form which has seen them record four wins in their last five league outings. Carlisle have picked up important victories against Hartlepool, Newport, Bradford and Crewe, which have helped them to cement their place in the playoff places.
Rochdale have struggled in meetings of these sides in recent years and have only one one of the last five outings. Carlisle have won three of the last five meetings and are heavily favoured to extend their run of good form this weekend.
When these two sides met in the reverse fixture in the league campaign, the sides split the points in a six-goal thriller. Carlisle managed to overturn a 3-1 deficit in the last 30 minutes as Kristian Dennis and Paul Huntington netted to force the points to be shared.
Unsurprisingly, given these sides’ respective league positions, Carlisle are the favourites heading into this tie @ 5/4, whilst a home win for Rochdale is currently priced @ 21/10. We are backing Carlisle to win because of their superior league form paired with their domination of this fixture in recent years.