Clutching a draw from the jaws of defeat will have felt like a win for the Blades on Saturday as Jamie Murphy earned them a point against Coventry. If they are to keep alive their faint hopes of a top two place though, they can ill-afford to drop many more points and Rochdale will provide Nigel Clough’s men with a difficult test.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Eastham, O’Connell, Kennedy, Logan, Hery, Rose, Vincenti, Henderson, Bunney.
Sheffield United: Turner, Brayford, Basham, Kennedy, Harris, Doyle, Coutts, Campbell-Ryce, Davies, Murphy, Done.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Ian Henderson, the former Rotherham United loanee, is Rochdale leading League One goalscorer this term. The 30-year-old, who started his career with Norwich City, also represented Northampton Town, Luton Town and Colchester United before arriving at Spotland. Henderson spent a brief spell with Turkish club MKE Ankaragücü after leaving Kenilworth Road and, despite being eligible for Scotland, has been capped by England at under-18 and under-20 level. Henderson made his professional debut for City in 2002.
Tonight’s fixture marks Sheffield United’s third visit to Spotland and only the sixth competitive meeting between these two teams. All of those have finished in a victory for the South Yorkshire club with Rochdale scoring three goals and conceding 13 goals in the process. United triumphed 1-0 when Keith Hill’s side travelled to Bramall Lane earlier this season with Jamal Campbell-Ryce, their summer signing from Notts County, scoring in the 84th minute.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Tony Harrington - Has not taken charge of a match involving Sheffield United during the present campaign but did oversee Rochdale’s 2-1 defeat by Scunthorpe at Glanford Park on Boxing Day. Matt Done, who joined Nigel Clough’s side earlier this month, was one of two players cautioned. Harrington dismissed two Rochdale players when he last visited Spotland 15 months ago.
BETTING (Sky Bet)
Rochdale 11/5 Draw 9/4 Sheffield Utd 5/4
WORTH A PUNT?
Matt Done and Jamie Murphy to both score is 14/1