ROCHDALE top scorer Scott Hogan and former York City defender Jack O'Connell are both likely to still be sidelined for tomorrow's big game at Spotland.
With 19 goals, Hogan was Sky Bet League Two's leading marksman prior to being crocked a month ago during a 0-0 draw at Bury.
That knee injury has left the 21-year-old striker sidelined since, allowing Scunthorpe's Sam Winnall and Reuben Reid, of Plymouth, to jump ahead of him in the goal charts.
Hogan, who started out as an apprentice at Rochdale and rejoined the club last summer following non-League spells with Halifax and Hyde, had scored seven goals in six games, including hat-tricks against AFC Wimbledon and Oxford, before his enforced absence.
But he has not been as sorely missed as might have been expected.
Keith Hill's men suffered a surprise defeat at bottom-of-the-table Torquay in their first match without Hogan but have now won four and drawn one of their last five fixtures to head the division - two points clear of nearest rivals Scunthorpe and nine ahead of fourth-placed Fleetwood in the fight for automatic promotion places.
Midfielder Matthew Lund has also picked up the goalscoring mantle with four goals during that spell and Ian Henderson, Peter Vincenti and Jamie Allen have all chipped in with two apiece.
On-loan Blackburn centre-back O'Connell, 20, has played a key role too in the Lancashire club's success this season, having started 41 matches before he joined Hogan in the treatment room last month.
O'Connell, who played 18 times for the Minstermen during the second half of last season, even captained the side earlier this term but Dale have also coped well with his loss during the last three matches, keeping clean sheets in a run of four successive shut-outs.
That sequence has seen wins over Northampton (3-0), Wycombe (2-0) and Portsmouth (3-0), as well as last weekend's goal-less draw at Fleetwood.
The Torquay reverse, meanwhile, remains the leaders' only loss in a dozen matches and, at home, Hill's side have won seven, drawn one and lost one of their last nine fixtures.
Dagenham & Redbridge are the only visiting side to leave Spotland with maximum points during that period, triumphing 1-0 to join Scunthorpe, who were 4-0 winners back in November, as the only sides to keep Dale off the scoresheet during 22 fixtures on their own soil in 2013/14.
A tally of 40 home goals is the highest in the division and only Brentford, with 15 to their name, have enjoyed more league wins in front of their own fans from English football's top four divisions.
Rochdale will move level with that number should they defeat City.
Team (probable): Lillis, Rafferty, Lancashire, Bennett, Done, Vincenti, Rose, Lund, Henderson, Allen, Donnelly.