Bury v Rochdale preview
by The Boy Holty
We're gearing up for probably the tastiest Bury v Rochdale derby match in recent history on Friday night.
Both clubs have very good reason for optimism as Bury, under new manager David Flitcroft are enjoying a resurgence of confidence, performances and results and are in the healthiest and most stable position that they have been in since we won promotion in 2011. Despite being in 16th position in league two, we once again feel like a club on the up as everything from the team to the chairman smacks of professionalism and quality for the first time in, well, ever.
Rochdale sit nicely in 3rd place in league two, four points ahead of fourth placed Burton and Keith Hill's second spell as Dale manager looks like it could well end with their second promotion in just four years. Their previous one in 2010 came after nearly 40 years in the fourth division which had established them as the classic joke club of the football league. Well they're no joke any more and their years of financial sensibility have paid off. This is a team widely regarded as the best footballing team in the division, and if Hill gets them up to league one again and doesn't decide to leave the club this time, they look likely to establish themselves at that level. All this comes with even lower crowds than Bury despite Rochdale being a bigger town, population-wise.
Add into that mix the history and friendship between the two managers who say they talk on a daily basis, plus the players who have played for both clubs (Ashley Grimes, Andrew Tutte, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Clive Platt, Brian Barry Murphy & Ashley Eastham) and the presence of the Sky TV cameras and we have ourselves the makings of a highly charged and frenetic occasion.
I can't wait. Bring it on.