John Coleman has swapped League Two for League One, calling time on his epic 13-year tenure with Accrington Stanley, and we should expect his new club Rochdale to start climbing the table soon, starting with a derby win over Bury on Saturday.
On the face of it, Coleman is taking a risk by swapping his comfort zone at the Crown Ground for uncertainty at Spotland but we should work to the assumption that the decision is a measured one, even if the current standing of the two clubs isn't all that different. Nobody knows the basement better than Coleman and he also knows the fixtures and fittings at his new club pretty well too after four seasons going round the same circuit with Keith Hill.
Indeed, Hill has always had huge respect for Coleman and you wouldn't be surprised if he has had a word with Dale chairman Chris Dunphy somewhere down the line, particularly when Dunphy tried to tempt his number two David Flitcroft away from Oakwell. So the 49-year-old Scouser represents a solid appointment in our view and we're quite prepared to believe his arrival will reap instant rewards.
Rochdale have only won one of their last 15 matches and they've only netted twice in their last eight, but Coleman was quick to remark that he already has the required talent and enthusiasm in his ranks to make an immediate impression.
Clearly, the players never bought into the ideas of either Steve Eyre or Chris Beech and it might just be refreshing for them to listen to a seasoned gaffer with simple and understated pearls of wisdom rather than the motivational business-speak that proliferated the post-match press conferences of his two predecessors.
Either way, Bury are a side to be taken on in the wake of that bizarre incident over who should take a penalty last weekend. The scuffle between Steven Schumacher and Giles Coke has been a source of some embarrassment at Gigg Lane and while it would be rather shallow to oppose them on that basis alone, let's just say it's the sort of internal wrangling that no good can come from.
The Shakers might well turn up on Saturday and brush it off as a triviality but they went on to lose the second-half against Yeovil and the subsequent publicity is unlikely to fire a response of collective defiance against the media or anyone who laughed on the settee at home.
You can get 13/8 about Rochdale and that's big enough to trigger our involvement given how they triumphed 4-2 in the reverse fixture last September when the mood was comparable to what it might be this weekend. It's also worth noting that Dale have taken four points off Preston much more recently, all of which suggests they have an appetite for these Lancashire derbies that weren't around last term.
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