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Friday 29th January 2010 14:32

O'Grady: timely hat-trick

O'Grady: timely hat-trick

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Rochdale FanZoner Will Maxwell is fairly relaxed about Monday's derby - his team will stay top whatever the result!

But will live TV jinx strike again, asks FanZoner Will Maxwell?

Since my last update, we've drawn two and won one. That's quite a healthy return from three difficult fixtures.

The Aldershot away game was a tough one. Having not played in a few weeks, I thought both teams looked a little rusty, but still put on a good game of football. Both teams played the right way, and although we conceded late on, I thought a draw was a fair result.

We got back to winning ways the following Saturday, when we enjoyed near total domination to beat Cheltenham 4-1. Chris O'Grady got a deserved hat-trick and Craig Dawson notched up his 10th goal of the season - highly impressive for a centre-half! It was a hugely impressive performance, with new loan singing Andy Haworth running O'Grady close to the Man of the Match award on his debut.

Port Vale came to Spotland to get a point and that's what they went home with. We missed chance after chance, and Chris Dagnall was very unlucky with an effort that hammered against the underside of the cross bar and onto the line.

Unfortunately just prior to the Port Vale game, we sold Will Buckley to Watford. The fee is believed to be around £300,000 which isn't bad for a player out of contract in the summer and has not featured in the team since November.

I did think we wouldn't be half the team without him, but the run we've been on with him injured his proved me wrong. I will miss Will tearing League Two defences apart with complete ease but he deserves to be playing at a higher level and I wish him good look at Watford.

Chairman Chris Dumphy has now said we wont be selling anyone else this transfer window, and that's a great relief. I'm hoping some of the money can be used to keep 'keeper Tom Heaton for the rest of the season, as since he joined us on loan from Manchester United he has been nothing short of outstanding.

Different

Now onto Monday's game, which you can see live on Sky Sports.

Some fans on both sides don't seem to like calling this a derby but I think for fans around my age it certainly is. In previous seasons, I'd have been looking forward to this game for weeks, with other games merely warm-ups for 'the big one'.

Read our Bury bloggers thoughts on Monday's derby

But this season is different. At the full-time whistle of one game my mind switches straight to the next one and whoever and wherever were playing I'm looking forward like I used to look to the Bury games in seasons gone by.

The team have been a joy to watch all season and it's just a shame more Rochdalians aren't coming through the gates at Spotland and enjoying the experience with us.

I think it will be a tight game that should have a great atmosphere with both sides doing so well in the league. The only thing I'm worried about is our woeful record when playing live on TV!

However much I worry about that, it's countered by the fact that whatever the outcome of this weekend's games, when I open the paper on Tuesday morning the League Two Table will show Rochdale are still top of the league. There's no greater feeling than that!

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