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Parkin warning for Wanderers: Don't under-estimate Dale!

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
No one knows what it takes to survive a wet Tuesday night in Rochdale quite like Wanderers assistant Steve Parkin.

It might have been rebranded as the Crown Oil Arena, but the five-and-a-half years Phil Parkinson’s right-hand-man spent at Spotland means he still knows every nook and cranny of a stadium which still punches above its weight.

Parkin had two spells in charge at Dale, the first of which saw him work with current Dale boss, the Bolton-born Keith Hill. And with that experience under his belt, he knows the Whites can expect no airs and graces when they take the field tonight.

“People under-estimate going to Spotland, they think it’s a small ground with not many fans but they are always up for it,” he told The Bolton News. “It’s quite a unique place. It’s never easy to play there and Rochdale sides have always used it to their advantage.

“I had Keith as a player and I know what he’s all about - he’s fiery and he knows what he’s doing. He likes his teams to be attack-minded and have a go, so we’d better be aware of that.

“He brought through some good players the first time around, went to Barnsley, and has now started to do the same again. They are always going to be a feeder club for the bigger ones, that;’s the way it works. They bring them through the ranks and sell them on, which means the club can survive.”

Rochdale had famously been anchored to the bottom tier since Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon when Parkin first took charge in 1999. He took them to eighth before moving on to Barnsley and then returned in 2003 to take charge of a side still regarded in those parts as one of the best they have produced.

“It was s a shame because we’d got a team together which was perfectly capable of getting promoted and then we lost our two main strikers - Grant Holt went to Nottingham Forest and Rickie Lambert went to Bristol Rovers,” he recalled.

“There was a lot of upheaval. The lads who came in ended up helping them get promotion the following season, which was great.”

Parkin admits Wanderers will have to up attacking areas of their game from the weekend’s tepid 0-0 draw with Bradford City.

Although Keshi Anderson will return from suspension, neither Sammy Ameobi or Jamie Proctor have opened their account in the league yet for the Whites, and Parkin hopes their luck will change soon.

“We could have been better with the ball,” he said. “There’s no denying they were brighter than us in the middle third of the pitch. There was no real action in the goalmouth and we’re a bit disappointed because we didn’t get the ball in the areas to give them a chance.

“I think the front lads need a break. They’re no different to anyone else and they play better when they are confident, so the sooner the better.

“You look over the weekend and front players sometimes need that little bit of luck to get up and running. They can’t let it get them down. You want strikers to keep having a go and don’t be frightened of missing - you never saw Alan Shearer throw his hands in the air. He just got on with it.”


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