Free-scoring Rochdale will give Dons a tough night

Plenty of goals have been flying in at both ends of Spotland this season
Spotland, home of RochdaleSpotland, home of Rochdale
Spotland, home of Rochdale

Rochdale have been hitting the back of the net regularly this season, but Russell Martin hopes Dons can do the same when they head to Spotland on Tuesday night.

Brian Barry-Murphy's side have scored 40 goals this season, just two behind Portsmouth - the division's most prolific side. But they have also conceded 50 goals, with only Burton and Swindon letting in more (51). And with just two wins in their last 10 games, it leaves Rochdale sitting 18th, six points and two spots back of Dons.

With 21 goals being scored in the last four games at Spotland, with two 3-3 draws and a 4-3 in there, Martin admits his defence will be in for a tough night against Dale. However, he hopes the performances against AFC Wimbledon and Sunderland will give his side the edge on Tuesday night.

"There isn’t an easy game in this league despite what some people say," he said. "They are a very good side and gave us a really good game last year. I have so much respect for their manager and how they play some of their games have been very entertaining.

"I think they're second or third highest scorers in the league, but they've obviously conceded a few as well. It will be really difficult but anything worth having is meant to be difficult.

"We need to build on our recent performances, and if we can combine to good bits from the win over AFC Wimbledon and the draw with Sunderland at the weekend, we'll have a really good chance of bringing back the three points."

Dons have won eight times against Rochdale down the years, losing four times and sharing the spoils four times too. Dons were awful in their last trip to Spotland, losing 2-0 in October 2019, while Dan Micciche ended a run of five consecutive defeats at the start of his managerial career with a dismal 0-0 draw in February 2018 - both of which were midweek games.

"We always seem to get them in the depths of winter on a Tuesday night for some reason," said captain Dean Lewington. "Rochdale a really good team, they try and play and do things the right way with really good, technical players.

"It's always a difficult game, and we'll have to be on our mettle for. They're not just a 'kick it and chase it' team, they do try and play and they've got some good players."