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Opposition Profile: Rochdale

15 June 2017

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A new feature where we take a closer look at who Rovers will face in League One next season.


Founded: 1907
Nickname: The Dale

Founded 110 years ago, Rochdale were accepted into the Football League in 1921.

Since then, the Greater Manchester club have remained in the bottom two divisions of English football.

Rochdale have achieved promotion three times – coming third in the Fourth Division in 1968-69 and third in League Two in both 2010 and 2014.

The Manager: Keith Hill

Keith Hill started his career here at Rovers, making over 100 appearances between 1987 and 1992, before leaving to join Plymouth Argyle at the start of the inaugural Premiership season.

He made over 150 appearances for the Pilgrims, before moving to Rochdale, where he again played over 150 games.

Hill ended his playing career with short spells at Cheltenham, Wrexham and Morecambe, before moving into coaching back at former club Rochdale. In December 2006, he was appointed caretaker manager, before getting the job on a permanent basis in January 2007.

In his first full season as Dale boss, Hill guided the club to the League Two play-off final, where they lost 3-2 to Stockport County at Wembley. Rochdale reached the play-offs for a second season running in 2008-09, but they were beaten 2-1 by eventual winners Gillingham at the semi-final stage.

Promotion was finally achieved in 2009-10, as Hill led the club to a third-place finish in League Two – missing out on the title after winning just one of their last nine league games. He then steered the side to a ninth-place finish in League One the following season – their best league finish since the 1969-70 season. 

Hill was appointed Barnsley boss in June 2011, securing their Championship status in his first season, but was sacked in December 2012 following a 3-1 defeat at home to Rovers – Josh King, Ruben Rochina and Jordan Rhodes getting the goals.

Following John Coleman’s departure from Rochdale in January 2013, Hill returned to Spotland for a second spell in charge, securing promotion back to League One in April 2014.

The Ground: Spotland Stadium

Renamed the Crown Oil Arena for sponsorship purposes in August 2016, Spotland was officially opened in 1920 and is the home of Rochdale AFC and the Rochdale Hornets rugby league side.

The stadium has a capacity of 10,500, however the record attendance is 24,231 for an FA Cup tie against Notts County in December 1949.

Last Season: 9th, League One

After a disappointing start to the season, in which Rochdale failed to win any of their opening seven league games, they then won six matches on the spin to propel them up the table.

In fact, Dale won 19 out of 25 matches in all competitions between mid-September and January, to leave them sitting pretty in the play-off positions.

However, they failed to win any of their next 10 league games and were knocked out of the FA Cup, losing 4-0 at home to Huddersfield Town in the fourth round.

After arresting the slide with an impressive 4-1 win over Gillingham in mid-March, Rochdale ended the season strongly, finishing in ninth place, four points outside the play-offs.

Last Meeting: September 6th 2000

David Dunn scored a hat-trick of penalties as Rovers defeated Rochdale 6-1 in a Worthington Cup first round second leg at Ewood Park.

Damien Duff bagged a brace, whilst Kaba Diawara netted his only goal in Rovers colours, as Graeme Souness’ side cruised into the second round.

The first leg at Spotland had ended 1-1 after Nathan Blake’s opener was cancelled out by Tony Ellis’ last-minute equaliser.

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