A COLOUR clash could force Town to wear their training kit for tomorrow’s friendly at Rochdale (3.00) – but Andy Ritchie will be treating the Spotland showdown with all the intensity of a full competitive match.
After four wins from four against AFC Emley, Bridlington Town, Hucknall Town and Bradford Park Avenue, it’s Town’s first run-out against league opposition.
And the Galpharm manager, who back in December was linked with Rochdale after he left Barnsley and the Lancashire club parted company with Steve Parkin, is demanding a step-up in performance against Keith Hill’s League II side.
It’s the first of three key preparation fixtures in eight days, with Premiership big guns Blackburn coming to the Galpharm on Wednesday and Ritchie’s League I team going to Mansfield a week tomorrow.
“At this stage we are where we want to be,” reported the manager.
“But so far, most of what we have done has been about fitness and stepping up the amount of time each player is spending on the pitch.
“With all due respect to the teams we have played – and I have been delighted with the facilities and the tests provided in each case – Rochdale will be a different proposition.
“That is shown by the fact that they had a good 2-1 win over Oldham on Tuesday, and our attitude will have to be right tomorrow.
“I know that in the overall scheme of things, friendly results don’t matter, but with four wins out of four so far, it would be nice to get a fifth and put on a show for our fans, who I’m sure will make the trip in numbers.
“There have been good turn-outs at the four matches so far, and it’s good to know they are backing what we’re trying to do.
“There’s plenty of work still to do ahead of our league opener (at home to Yeovil a fortnight tomorrow).
“But we’re getting towards the stage of putting the finishing touches to things, and it’s going to be a big eight days for us.”
Ritchie, who was concentrating on short, sharp exercises rather than any stamina work in today’s training, is taking his full squad to Spotland.
But his starting selection could provide some pointers to what the side on duty against Yeovil will look like.