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Rochdale match preview

12 October 2018

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Rovers return to league action on Saturday when they travel to face Rochdale in Sky Bet League One.

Rovers will travel across the Pennines looking to back up their 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over Grimsby Town with one in the league, following back-to-back defeats against Accrington Stanley and Fleetwood Town.

Rochdale head into the weekend off the back of their own 2-0 victory in the Checkatrade Trophy away at Fleetwood on Tuesday, and they will be looking for their first league win in five following two defeats and two draws in League One.

Brief history of Rochdale AFC

Rochdale play at the 10,429-capacity Crown Oil Arena, otherwise known as Spotland.

Rochdale have been in League One since 2014 having won promotion from the fourth division in third place during the 2013/14 season. Their previous stint in the EFL’s bottom tier saw them play 36 consecutive seasons in the same division, with their promotion from League Two in 2010 their first for 41 years, as well as just the Dale’s second promotion in the club’s history.

They reached the final of the League Cup back in 1962, where they became the first fourth division team in history to reach the final. They lost 4-0 over two legs to Norwich City, beating Rovers 4-0 in the second round of that season’s competition.

Who’s the gaffer?

Keith Hill is the man in charge at the Crown Oil Arena, currently in his second stint as manager following his return in January 2013. Hill spent time as a player at Spotland between 1996 and 2001, making over 150 league appearances for the Dale.

His first spell in charge of the Dale came between 2006 and 2011, leading them to their first promotion in over 40 years from League Two, before making the switch to South Yorkshire to take the helm at Barnsley. He returned to Spotland in 2013 and the year after saw him lead Dale to another promotion from the fourth tier, once again from third place in League Two.

Across his two spells in charge of Rochdale, Hill has overseen 542 games, winning 227, drawing 137 and losing 178, leaving him with a total win percentage of 41.88 per cent.

Ones to watch

Ian Henderson

The Dale skipper has been one of the side’s most influential players over the past few years, having reached double figures for goals in each of his last five seasons. His most prolific campaign so far for Dale came in the 2014/15 season when he scored 22 goals in their first season back in League One, guiding the Dale to 8th. He wasn’t too far behind his tally last season either, as Henderson went on to score 20 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions for Dale.

Zach Clough

The young forward is on loan from Nottingham Forest, initially until January. Clough began his career with Bolton Wanderers, coming up through the youth ranks with the club, spending 14 years with the Trotters in total. He joined Forest in January 2017 after a brilliant start to the 2016/17 season with Wanderers, before switching back to Bolton for the second half of last season, helping them to avoid relegation to the Championship on the final day.

Harrison McGahey

The defender is in his third season with the Dale following his move from Sheffield United in 2016. McGahey spent time with the youth academies of Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool, before joining Blackpool in 2012. He made his professional debut with the Tangerines in 2014 before joining the Blades shortly afterwards. McGahey has gone on to make over 100 appearances for Dale and is now a mainstay at the back at the Crown Oil Arena.

Who’s the ref?

Scott Oldham will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet on Saturday. Oldham is yet to take charge of a game involving Rovers, though he has taken charge of three Rochdale fixtures, the last of those coming towards the end of last season in their 3-3 draw at home against Portsmouth in April 2018.

Oldham has taken charge of three games across League One and League Two, brandishing 10 yellow cards, though he is yet to give out a red card.

He will be joined by assistant referees Geoffrey Liddle and Alix Pashley, with Michael Salisbury, who took charge of Tuesday night’s game with Grimsby Town, being named as the fourth official.

Last time out

The last meeting between the two sides came in January 2018, with Rochdale running out 1-0 winners in the FA Cup third round thanks to Calvin Andrew’s first-half effort. The meeting with Dale at the Keepmoat Stadium came just a week after a meeting between the two sides in the league, with Rovers earning three points in League One thanks to goals from Ben Whiteman and Alfie May.

Rovers last win at Spotland came in November 2014, where goals from Kyle Bennett, Theo Robinson and Curtis Main saw Rovers come away with a 3-1 victory after going behind to Matt Done’s opener.

Tickets for Rovers’ next Sky Bet League One home game against Gillingham on Saturday October 20 are still available via the Club Doncaster Box Office – purchase yours now by either visiting in-store at the Keepmoat Stadium, by calling on 01302 762576, or online at

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