In the last three years, the Shakers' academy has sold seven players and have had 14 debuts for the first team. By anyone’s standard, that’s pretty impressive. The production line will reveal the latest set of players in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday evening when Rochdale make the short trip to the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane.
It’s not all about the latest product though, as per the EFL rules of the competition - each club should include players that are in the top ten for starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions. Managers cannot simply throw the kids in and leave it at that.
Last season, Bradford changed their keeper after just 60 seconds of our game at Valley Parade. The rules surrounding keepers have now been relaxed and keepers are not included in the above rules.
It’s also the chance for those not featuring in games, to get some pitch time in – players such as Tsun Dai, Callum Styles and Leo Fasan. The options available to Lee Clark for this game and competition are wide and varied.
Nathan Cameron and Jermaine Beckford are both likely to miss the game. With Cameron’s ongoing situation with his knee keeping him out for a second game in three days, as it did last week – whilst Beckford surely will not be used with Saturday's game at Charlton Athletic just over the horizon.
Michael Smith will more than likely jump at the chance of playing as he searches for match fitness and it's pretty much the same for the rest of the squad. Some will play, some will be rested and some will find themselves on the bench.
Players such as Joe Skarz, Callum Reilly, Alex Whitmore – who have played, and have also missed games – 90 minutes in any competition must surely be seen as a good thing.
It’s the Checkatrade Trophy, anything can – and usually does – happen with team sheets, games and results.
Should the game finish all square, then each side will be awarded one point. The game will go straight to a penalty shoot-out, using the new ABBA system, and the winners of the shoot-out will be awarded an additional point.
The winners and runners-up from each group will move forward to the second-round knockout stage.
Rochdale’s View: Click here to visit the Official Rochdale Website
Last time out: 13 April 2017 – Bury 0 Rochdale 1
Rochdale moved to within three points of the League One play-off places with victory at local rivals Bury. A tense affair saw Dale midfielder Callum Camps break the deadlock with a free-kick in first-half stoppage time.
And although Bury rallied after the break, they never looked like avoiding a third consecutive defeat. The Shakers have played more matches than all their fellow strugglers and are just a point above the drop zone with three games left.
Bury went closest during a quiet start as James Vaughan poked a shot straight at keeper Conrad Logan, while Tom Pope's header was cleared off the line by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing. Rochdale replied with Ian Henderson and Joe Bunney going close before Mendez-Laing's shot was turned over by Joe Murphy.
But the Bury keeper was at fault moments later as Camps let fly with a free-kick from over 30 yards, which slipped through Murphy's hands. Cameron Burgess had a header blocked and Pope headed over as Bury started the second half on top.
But the hosts failed to keep the pressure on and Henderson went closest to scoring late on.
Referee: Tuesday evening’s referee is Mr Mark Heywood from West Yorkshire
So far this season, Mark has taken charge of six games – showing 20 yellow cards and 1 red card. His last game was on Sat 16 Sep when he took charge of the League Two clash between Cambridge United and Coventry City. Cambridge won the game 2-1 and four yellow cards were shown.
Mark’s last visit to the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane was on 26 November 2013 when he took charge of a 1-0 victory over Hartlepool United, one yellow card was shown during the game.
Quick Betting Tip: Bury are 12/5 to win the game whilst Rochdale are 19/10. A draw is on offer at 12/5
Top Five Tips for the game
- Bury to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 –5/2
- Bury to win by exactly two goals – 3/1
- Bury to score 2 or more in the first half – 5/1
- Bury to score exactly three goals – 6/1
- Bury to keep a clean sheet – 9/4
Click here for plenty of markets available on Tuesday’s game
We’ve met before: The two clubs have met on 56 previous occasions, with Bury winning 19 games, Rochdale winning 16 games and the remaining 21 games finishing all square. As for goals, Bury have scored 73 goals and Rochdale 64 goals.
The highest aggregate score is seven goals, and the game in question is also the Shakers' biggest victory over Rochdale when the Shakers hit six to Rochdale’s one goal in the 1958/59 season. Rochdale’s biggest win over Bury was during the 2011/12 season when they took all three points with a 4-2 victory at the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane.
The first game between the two sides was on Sat 5 Oct 1957 and finished as a 1-1 draw at Spotland, the last meeting was just over two weeks ago and again finished all square with a 0-0 draw at Spotland.
Your visit to the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane: Click here for our ‘First Time Visitor' guide.
Ticket News: Click here
Social Club: The Social Club will be open for home and away supporters from 6:15pm