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Rochdale vs Bournemouth - Match Preview

Date published: 11 December 2008


Rochdale groundsman Phil Collinson is optimistic that Saturday's game at home to Bournemouth will go ahead despite this week's heavy frost and, in a bid to the game on, he and his staff will once again be adopting one of the more unusual techniques to thaw out the playing surface.

Last February oil drums containing burning wood lined the Spotland turf in the area immediately in front of the main stand, which does not get any sunlight during winter, in an attempt to thaw out the heavily frozen area. Phil and some hardy supporters worked through the night but the Tuesday night fixture against Notts County was called off the following morning.

Now Phil is bringing the oil drums out of retirement and is appealing for anyone with any spare timber to get up to Spotland with it so that he can heat up the pitch once more.

There has been a solid frost every night this week but milder conditions are expected on Friday night, which could work in the groundsman's favour. The problem is that, with Bournemouth being the visitors, it is likely that a pitch inspection will have to be called, if not tomorrow, then very early on Saturday morning.

If the game does get the go ahead it will be Dale's first for a fortnight after last weekend's fixture at Darlington was postponed due to the frost, and it comes amidst increasing rumours that star youngster Will Buckley could be set for pastures new in January.

The list of clubs rumoured to be interested in the 18-year old winger has increased this week, with North West Premier League sides Bolton and Blackburn adding their weight to a tally that already included Coventry City, Preston North End and League One moneybags Peterborough United.

Buckley has a three year contract at Spotland, so the club can expect a substantial offer if another side was to try and take him off Dale's hands.

Saturday's game will see Dale skipper Gary Jones and top scorer Chris Dagnall come back into contention for a starting place having been absent through injury. Lee McEvilly, on loan from Cambridge, could also make his first appearance since returning to Dale nearly three weeks ago. The game comes too early for the injured Scott Wiseman, who extended his contract this week to remain with the club until the end of the season.

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