Rochdale head coach Alan Kilshaw believes their Summer Bash showdown with Oldham could determine which part of the table they are contesting by the end of the season.
The Hornets will engage in battle with their fierce rivals in the opening Championship game of the weekend in Blackpool, knowing they will leapfrog the Roughyeds with a victory.
Kilshaw believes that the end result will have a big say in the club either battling for a top eight spot, or searching for survival in their first year back in the league.
“It’s a pivotal game,” he said.
“We’re at a crossroads really, with a win we’re pushing for the top eight, if we lose we could get dragged into a scrap.
“I don’t think it’s a game that will define our season, but it’s certainly an important game.”
Despite the fierce rivalry between the two teams, Kilshaw spoke highly of Scott Naylor’s side.
“They’ve been unlucky with the amount of games they’ve been beaten by a couple of points. They’ve been inconsistent but they’ve also proved they can beat anyone in the competition.
“It’s a huge rivalry on and off the field, but there’s also a lot of respect there.”