With the F.A. Cup Quarter Final draw taking place last night Tottenham already know the possible opposition that may await them in the next round of the competition. Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea could be on the other side of today’s fixture but first the North London outfit have to clear the hurdle which is Rochdale.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men needed two attempts to get the better of Newport County in the previous round and you would get the feeling that it will be a lesson learned as last year’s semi-finalists look to go at least one stage better this time around.
With the fixtures coming thick and fast for Tottenaham as of late, you would anticipate their being wholesale changes for the trip to the team that currently sits at the bottom of League 1, Harry Kane is one player that will not be risked after picking up a knock in midweek.
One that came in the incredibly spirited draw against Juventus at the Allianz Stadium as Spurs came from two-nil down to restore parity and set the second leg of their Champions League tie up very nicely for when the square off once again next month.
Mousa Dembele was undoubtedly the man of the match after his performance in Turin and what is even more impressive is the fact that he has played four games in the space of a fortnight with no adverse effects shown afterwards.
However you do get the feeling that this will be one game too many for the Belgian especially as we now enter the final third and ultimately the business end of the season, if Tottenham are to truly compete for the major prizes then there is going to have to be some game management between now and May for the imperious midfielder.
One player who could well make his first start today is that of Lucas Moura, he had a very small cameo on Tuesday night but was not really given the opportunity to show what he is all about and you would imagine today’s clash against Rochdale would be ideal for the Brazilian international to show of this talents.
Bit of a difference in terms of the preview today as we have a man in the ground – Dean Smith is a Tottenham fan but actually lives close to Rochdale and will be attendance today has been kind enough to give me a ‘spotters guide’ for Spotland. A big thanks to Dean and if you click on his name above you can also follow him on Twitter.
“So basically the pitch has been relayed on Saturday after the Fleetwood game got called off so it will be a brand new pitch so is likely to cut up a little. It’s been awful weather here the last few days though so god knows how it will have bedded in. There have been problems with it for a few years now though but obviously this is a new level where it is now.”
“As for the Dale team, Spurs fans will possibly remember Calvin Andrew (ex Crystal Palace) who has been probably the best player this season. He’ll play up front with captain Ian Henderson who has been the star man for the last few years. Callum Camps is a midfielder who has been linked with a few Championship clubs and is worth looking out for. The defence has been a shambles for about 24 months but a few new faces have come in during the window so might be strengthened there. The table doesn’t lie though – they’re second bottom in L1 for a reason, been very poor this season.”
Where to drink:
“In terms of where Spurs fans should go for a drink etc before the game – the Flying Horse and the Baum are two cracking pubs in the town centre both within 10 minutes walk from the station. The ground is a taxi ride away from the town, but there’s also the Cemetery pub which is 5 mins walk from the ground which is decent and Spurs fans will be in the Willbutts Lane which is by far the best stand in the ground, 3.5k all-seater which runs the length of the pitch with a bar underneath in the concourse”
As for a match prediction well much has been made of the pitch in the build up to this game, something that will only be used as an excuse should Tottenham fail to win, however I cannot see that being the case as the Spurs should march on to a routine 2-0 win over Rochdale