Tottenham Hotspur visit Rochdale on crest of a wave, but Newport County tie serves as timely warning
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Mauricio Pochettino’s men visit Spotland in superb form, but they must not underestimate Keith Hill’s League One strugglers
After a memorable two weeks for Spurs, they must ensure they do not get complacent when they visit Rochdale on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur make the long trip up to Greater Manchester to face Dale at Spotland in the fifth-round of the FA Cup.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team go to the League One club off the back of a wonderful two weeks, which will not be forgotten about any time soon.
Since January 31, Spurs have defeated Manchester United (2-0) and Arsenal (1-0) at Wembley in comprehensive fashion despite the relatively close scorelines.
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They’ve also seen off Newport County in a fourth-round FA Cup replay, but the stand-out results and signs of character were away to two clubs steeped in history.
On Sunday February 4 they recovered from a poor start to earn a 2-2 draw at Liverpool after netting in stoppage time and this week they did something similar at Juventus on Tuesday night.
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With 10 minutes gone in Turin, Spurs found themselves two down and potentially on their way to exiting the Champions League.
Goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen earned a fine 2-2 draw, however, and they are now in a great position ahead of the second leg on March 7.
Before Tottenham can focus on their next Champions League tie, they have some domestic matters to worry about – including this Sunday’s FA Cup clash.
It would be very ‘Spursy’ if the Lilywhites were to visit Rochdale, who are bottom of League One, and struggle after Tuesday’s draw.
Therefore it is so important the team selected by Pochettino for this weekend’s match starts off well and dominates early on.
Rochdale’s problems with their Spotland pitch have been well documented and their League One fixture last Saturday with Fleetwood Town was postponed.
But Dale revealed they were going to relay a new surface for the cup clash with Spurs, so it should be in a better condition for the game live on BBC One.
It means there are no excuses for Tottenham and after the highs against the likes of Man United, Liverpool. Arsenal and Juventus, they must now deliver again away to Rochdale.
Turn up with the right mindset and Spurs will almost certainly qualify for the quarter-finals, but underestimate their opponents, like they perhaps did in the past round with Newport, and what looks a favourable tie may well become very tricky.