A League 2 blog with an overwhelmingly pro-Torquay United bias
Let’s face it – nobody is expecting Torquay to get anything out of this game. The away side will have the extra motivation of knowing that if other results go their way then a win would confirm their ascension from League Two after more than three decades. Having said that, their promotion looks inevitable no matter what happens between now and the end of the season, so some Dale players may be content to coast over the finishing line.
Despite a few shaky performances of late, Rochdale are the clear favourites here and their most recent victory saw them put Torquay’s relegation rivals Grimsby to the sword a few weeks ago, triumphing 4-1. A similar scoreline could well be on the cards given that Rochdale are the division’s highest away scorers with 36 goals in 19 games – significantly more than the Gulls’ own home tally of 28.
Torquay themselves are enjoying a relatively purple patch with only 2 defeats in their last 10 games – the same as tomorrow’s high-flying visitors. Rochdale seem to be experiencing a Jekyll and Hyde phase in front of goal, smashing home 3 or more goals in 5 of their last 10 outings, yet failing to score in their last 2 games. If they bounce back at Plainmoor we could well see a rout, although a more sober scoreline is more likely.
The Gulls themselves will be looking to maintain their points cushion over Grimsby, who have a more winnable fixture this weekend at Hereford. However, Paul Buckle will clearly not be expecting too much of his players against such powerful opposition, so the pressure will be off Torquay. With that in mind I’m going to predict a final score of 1-2 to Rochdale – a respectable performance from the Gulls but not enough to outshine the champions-elect.