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Club News

The Opposition Guide: Rochdale

15 April 2016

A Look At Tomorrow's Opponents

Blackpool head to Rochdale for a league fixture for the first time since December 2000 tomorrow, aiming to pick up the points required to lift them back above the line in the League One table.

Here we take a look at the opposition:

THE MANAGER

Currently in his second spell as Rochdale manager, Keith Hill’s affinity with the club goes back to 1996 when he joined as a player from Plymouth Argyle.

The former defender spent five years in the team at Spotland before making a return, initially as Director of Youth, upon his retirement from the game.

His first stint as manager got underway in January 2007, following on from a caretaker spell in charge of the club. He took Rochdale to the League Two play-off final in his first full season in charge and the play-offs again the following season. Promotion was finally achieved at the third attempt, this time automatically, in 2010.

He guided Rochdale to a highest league finish since 1969-70 in League One before opting to move to Barnsley, after some consideration, in 2011.

Hill returned to Spotland in January 2013 following the departure of John Coleman and helped the club back to League One with another promotion.

CURRENT FORM

Rochdale got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory at Peterborough United last weekend, having previously lost to Wigan Athletic and salvaged a point in dramatic circumstances against Doncaster Rovers.

Prior to those results, Keith Hill’s side had been on a four-game winning run in the league, which included victories against Coventry City and Southend United.

They currently sit eighth in the table, seven points off the play-offs with 61. At Spotland, Rochdale have won 11 of their 20 games and scored 35 goals in the process.

FAMILIAR FACES

Former Blackpool youth captain Ash Eastham has become a solid and dependable centre-back in the Rochdale defence.

The 25-year-old, who made three first-team appearances as a youngster at Bloomfield Road, joined Rochdale in 2013 and has played 19 games this season.

Grant Holt, who had a brief loan spell with Blackpool back in 2008, has recently returned to Spotland following his release from Wigan Athletic.

KEY MAN

On target against Blackpool back in August, Donal McDermott has made a big impact in his first season at Rochdale.

The 26-year-old attacker, a former Manchester City academy graduate, penned a 12-month deal with the club in May and has certainly grasped his opportunity back in league football.

The Irishman spent time last year with Salford City and Ramsbottam United, having previously been known to Huddersfield Town and Bournemouth fans.

Likely to play a key role in the absence of suspended striker Ian Henderson, McDermott has played 38 times for Rochdale this season and assisted seven goals.  

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