FA Cup: Rochdale boss Hill wary of Hughes’ influence on Stoke
Stoke City are not expected to take any chances against League One side Rochdale, whose boss Keith Hill knows that opposite number Mark Hughes won’t let his players be complacent.
“I think Stoke will come here, they’ll embrace the FA Cup and – knowing [Mark] Hughes – I don’t think for one minute he’d let his team get too complacent playing against a team like Rochdale,” said Hill.
The visitors are odds-on with Coral at 4/6 to beat their opponents, who have proven to be a tough encounter this season, and currently lie in the play-off places, two divisions lower.
Dale beat Championship side Nottingham Forest in the last round, while the Potters came from behind to beat non-league Wrexham, though will be on their guard against their Manchester-based opponents.
With Chelsea and Manchester City both eliminated from the competition, Hughes’ side will know, if they can put together a good run, then there is no reason why they cannot go all the way, just like Wigan Athletic did in 2012-13. Despite injury concerns over Ryan Shawcross and Jonathan Walters, the Staffordshire outfit should still be confident they can progress.
Stoke, who in the end won comfortably 3-1 against their Welsh opponents in the last round, courtesy of three goals in the last 10 minutes can be confident that they have the strength and fitness to outlast Hill’s side, having also spent a week training in Dubai in the run-up to this match, in extreme heat.
Hughes said was pleased with the trip and that everything went well: “It was very good, we got there at just the right time, given the weather we left behind here. We enjoyed it and got some good work done.”
Stephen Ireland bagged a brace in the final two minutes of normal time to secure victory, and is 11/2 to net anytime in this tie, while Marko Arnautovic, who equalised that day, is 11/4 in the same market. Previously, Stoke secured a well-fought 1-0 victory away at Leicester, with Bojan Krkic netting and the Spaniard is 6/1 to break the deadlock.
It could be Peter Crouch’s influence and physique that makes a difference against what is likely to be a battle-hardened Dale side, and the handful of a centre forward is 5/1 to score the opener.
For the hosts, it was a Peter Vincenti spot-kick in the opening quarter that secured progression to the fourth round, and he is 10/3 to strike anytime and add to his 11-goal haul already this season.
Rochdale thumped Crawley 4-1 at home last time out, as Ian Henderson, 7/1 first scorer, bagged a brace to take his tally up to 12, and have taken six points from two games since the win against Forest.