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Match Preview: Rochdale AFC V Forest - FA Cup

Remember this time last year when Rochdale dumped Leeds United out of the FA Cup? In The Top One was curious to find out whether such a thing might happen to us too so spoke to legendary Dale fan, Colin Cavanah.

Keith Hill has reached that irritating itchy stage in his beard growth project.
Keith Hill has reached that irritating itchy stage in his beard growth project.
Pete Norton/Getty Images

David Marples: So this time last year, you put a big name of a Championship club to the sword in the third round of the FA Cup in the shape of Leeds United. Now, we are most certainly NOT Leeds United but you must be fancying your chances against us.

Colin Cavanah: I reckon we would fancy our chances had we not produced two of our worst two performances of the season in the last two games. I was quietly confident until both Scunthorpe and Fleetwood deservedly beat us. Given both teams' form, maybe we'll both lose. To be honest, when the draw was made, it was clear there were a lot of similarities between this fixture and the Leeds one from last year, so in terms of preparation, I reckon it's ideal for us.

DM: Indeed, I took no pleasure in noticing that someone else had at least as miserable a Christmas in terms of results as us (actually that's not strictly true: I just breathed a sigh of relief having noticed your last two results). But lest we forget, this is the magic of the FA Cup and all that. Rochdale seem to be an entertaining side who play a high-tempo game and are a strong team, especially at home. Is that the case?

CC: That's pretty much spot on, apart from the bit about at home. We've got a young team that plays at pace and the right way, but we've been not been anywhere close to our best at home. Away from home, we've been flying and scoring goals for fun. Things have been a bit more difficult at home. It's not been as easy when teams are reacting to us rather than vice versa, and as such, home games have often been cagey affairs where we've struggled after the opposition has taken the lead.

DM: There’s hope for us yet then. Is the mercurial Ian Henderson still at the hub of all things good? And to whom else should we keep touch-tight?

CC: Hendo has proven himself to be one of the best players to have played for the club. He's being played up front at the moment and he's got double figures already for the season. He's a bit out of form right now. He was sent off at the start of last month for a bit of petulance and he doesn't quite seem to have been at his best since then. I’m hoping that's just coincidental, and he's been at the heart of our success over the past two years. There are a few others but at this moment in time, I couldn't hazard a guess at what team we'll start with. One thing is certain: we won't play with any recognised strikers.

DM: We understand that around 3,000 or so Forest supporters or so will be schlepping north and along the M62 a bit. Can you offer us any valuable advice for the travelling fan?

CC: Make a day of it. Big pub at the ground which will welcome the travelling supporters with open arms, and if you're one of these beardy Camra types the Cemetery Hotel, located at the bottom of Sandy Lane and on the corner with Bury Road, will be your best bet. There might be a ‘back door only’ job on Saturday with plastic glasses, but again you'll be welcomed. There is a chippy about ten yards from the away turnstiles, which is something of a lower league legend. You might have to queue and you'll definitely have to tell them you don't want a fish putting in, but it's one of the best chippies around. Word of warning though, the club has been funny in the past about people taking the chips in.

DM: Quite rightly so – we don’t want players being pelted with chips, especially if they have sticky out corners and such like. And finally, the painful part: can we trouble you for a prediction? Generally speaking, there is a sense of trepidation on our part regarding this tie. I can foresee a very hard-earned and slightly fortunate draw from our perspective, perhaps 2-2.

CC: Given our away form, I'd take the 2-2 now. Given the misfortune we suffered against your cross city rivals before Xmas where they equalised six minutes into the four minutes of injury time with a goal that was both offside and a foul on the keeper, I'm hoping Saturday sees things even itself out.

Thanks to Colin Cavanah who is the driving force behind the wonderful www.rochdaleAFC.com and is on the Twitter @RochdaleAFCcom