A look at how Dale may fare in the 2015-16 League 1 campaign.
We continue our look at our opponents for the 2015-16 campaign, by previewing a side we have played against in recent seasons - Rochdale.
Who are this lot then?
Rochdale, known casually as The Dale, are heading into their second season back in the third tier of English football, following their promotion from League Two after a 3rd place finish in the 2013-14 season. The Dale finished 8th last season in League One, narrowly missing out on the opportunity to compete in the play-offs for a spot in the Championship.
Did they get up to much last season?
The Dale finished 8th last season in League One, narrowly missing out on the opportunity to compete in the play-offs for a spot in the Championship. They were just six points from qualifying for the play-offs, avoiding relegation by a total of 13 points.
Who's the boss?
Keith Hill is enjoying a second spell at the helm of the Greater Manchester club, after an unsuccessful spell in the Championship as manager of Barnsley. In Hill’s first spell as manager of Rochdale, he led the club to automatic promotion from League Two, following that up with the club’s best league season since 1969-70 by finishing 9th in League One. Hill was then approached by Barnsley, and spoke to the Yorkshire club before saying he would stay at Rochdale. Hill then made a U-turn and was appointed as the new Barnsley boss in the summer of 2011, but was sacked in December 2012. He then returned to Rochdale, now in League Two, and led the club back to League One. He then led the club to an 8th place finish last season.
Any stand out players?
Ian Henderson (below) was the club’s top scorer last season, scoring 22 goals. Winger Peter Vincent is another stand-out player, having hit the back of the net 13 times in the last campaign. Club captain and defender Ollie Lancashire is a mainstay of Hill’s side, after spending time with Walsall and Aldershot Town after being released by Alan Pardew at Southampton in the summer of 2010.
Rochdale’s number eight, Matt Lund, spent the latter part of the 2013-14 season with Southend United in League Two. He made 12 appearances during his time at Roots Hall, scoring against Northampton Town in a 2-1 home defeat. Blues midfielder Will Atkinson was sent on loan to Rochdale by current manager Phil Brown when the pair were both at Hull City in 2009, before later returning for a second loan spell in 2011. Will made 36 appearances for Rochdale, scoring five times.
What's the ground like?
Spotland is capable of holding just over 10,000 fans, and is the home to both Rochdale Association Football Club and Rochdale Hornets, a professional Rugby League side. The Sandy Lane End, behind one of the goals, is a terrace. The ground opened in 1920 and was used solely by the football club until 1988, the stadium is now jointly-owned by Rochdale Association Football Club, Rochdale Hornets and Rochdale Council.
How far away is the place?
Embarking on a round-trip to Rochdale will see you cover 499 miles.
Any big name fans?
One half of Cannon and Ball, comedian Tommy Cannon, is a life-long Rochdale fan, despite being born in Oldham. Cannon was previously chairman of the club, but stepped down from the role in 1988. Singer and actress Lisa Stansfield is another who is a well-known Dale fan.
Good memories against them?
Blues have faired well against Rochdale in the 46 meetings between the two clubs, winning 23 matches. Rochdale have won on 12 occasions, with the two sides playing out 11 draws. The last time the two met was April 2014, when Blues won 3-0 at Scotland thanks to goals from Barry Corr, Jacob Murphy and Michael Timlin. Southend have beaten Rochdale in four of the last six encounters.
What are the odds on that?
Rochdale are 25/1 to pick up the League One title, 13/2 to earn promotion to the Championship and 6/1 to be relegated.