Rochdale vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Spurs looking to avoid upset against League One strugglers

Rochdale vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Spurs looking to avoid upset against League One strugglers

Can Tottenham continue their recent fine form against the struggling Rochdale?

Brogan Clasper

High flying Tottenham face a tough trip against League One side Rochdale in the last 16 of the FA Cup on Saturday.

This year marks 10 years since Spurs last won a major trophy and a trip to Spotland provides them with a real chance of progressing to the quarter-finals. 

However, the Dale are on the brink of their best ever FA Cup run as they have never progressed further than the last 16. 

From Turin on Tuesday to a resurfaced Crown Oil Arena, Spurs may be without main man Harry Kane who is reportedly suffering from a twisted ankle.  

New pitch

The talk of the last round was the state of the Spotland pitch. Following some poor weather in the area, the pitch became nothing short of a swamp.

The Dale have suffered heavily as league games were cancelled due to the pitch being unfit to play on, leaving them with four games in hand on their relegation rivals. 

Criticism from Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was heard loud and clear as a new pitch was quickly laid in time for the Lilywhite's arrival.  

Since the new pitch has been laid, Pochettino has taken the opportunity to apologise. The Spurs boss said: "First of all, I want to apologise to the people in Rochdale and the chairman and the people who took my comment the wrong way.

"My comment was about the care, first of all for the Rochdale players, our players and the competition that all of England watches on TV."

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What can Spurs expect?

The Dale currently sit rock bottom of League One and are 11 points from safety, staring relegation in the face with a shortage of goals being their main issue. 

Ian Henderson spearheads the Rochdale attack and was the hero in their replay match against Millwall where his goal saw the Dale through.

However, the 33-year-old has only managed to score eight goals in the league this season. 

In midfield, Callum Camps provides the Dale with their main creative spark. Although he has not scored on a regular basis he could provide a threat going forward for the League One side. 

Youngster Ryan Delaney has impressed in defence since his move from Burton Albion to Spotland in January where he has tightened up the backline in recent weeks. 

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Kane set to sit out

It was reported on Friday by Spurs that star striker Harry Kane was to be assessed on Saturday morning having suffered an ankle twist in their 2-2 draw against Juventus

The Spurs striker has been up there with the world's most potent in front of goal this season having netted three already in the FA Cup so far. 

Although Kane will be a huge miss for Spurs it will give them a different approach to the game with Fernando Llorente up top and Heung-Min Son playing off of him. 

Predicted XI

Lucas Moura has been tipped to make his full Spurs debut against Rochdale. 

The Brazillian winger signed in January from PSG but has not featured heavily for the French side due to the competition of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. 

Lucas did make a brief appearance against Juventus on Tuesday where he showed the offensive threat he has to offer. 

Tottenham: Vorm, Trippier, Foyth, Alderweireld, Rose; Wanyama, Winks; Son, Sissoko, Lucas; Llorente.