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Match Previews

2015/16 preview - introducing Rochdale AFC

10 June 2015

Meet Millwall's League One opponents



ROCHDALE
Founded: 1907

Stadium: Spotland

Nickname: Dale

Position: Eighth in League One

Manager: Keith Hill returned to manage Rochdale for a second time in January 2013 having enjoyed a historic stint at the helm six years previously.

As a player, Hill was a solid defender who featured for Blackburn Blackburn, Plymouth, Rochdale, Cheltenham and Morecambe.

Following his retirement in 2003 he returned to Spotland as a coach and became director of youth before his elevation to first-team duties following the departure of Steve Parkin with the team entrenched in a relegation battle.

He soon worked his magic, and having spent the first half of the 2006/7 season in the bottom three, Hill propelled the team up to a healthy finish in the top 10 come May.

Then followed two seasons of Play-Off heartbreak at the hands of Stockport and Gillingham before Rochdale made it third time lucky, clinching promotion to League One when they beat Northampton at home on April 17th 2010.

Rochdale had previously been in the bottom division of the Football League since 1974 and his success saw Hill voted League Two Manager of the Year.

The club then enjoyed another fantastic season (2010/11) as Hill's side competed for a Play-Off place in League One and ended the season in ninth place - their highest League finish since 1969/70.

Barnsley prised Hill away from Spotland and a difficult first season saw the Yorkshire club finish one place outside of the Championship drop zone. A mixed start to the following campaign saw Hill relieved of his position in December and when the opportunity to return to Rochdale arose four weeks later, he returned and subsequently led Rochdale back to League One in 2013/14 after two years in the fourth tier of English football.   

Key Player: Manager Keith Hill swooped to secure the services of former Bury captain Jim McNulty earlier this month and he is sure to be a pivotal player at Spotland this coming campaign.

The 30-year-old defender was released by the newly-promoted Shakers when his contract expired at the end of last season and was quickly snapped up by his former boss.

McNulty had previously been skipper under Dale manager Hill when the two were at Barnsley in the Championship.

Once McNulty, who has also featured for Macclesfield Town, Stockport County and Brighton, became a free agent Hill acted swiftly to secure his services.

Top scorer: Ian Henderson (22 goals)

Head-to-head: Matches between Dale and The Lions have been thin on the ground - and it is a hefty 50 years since the two sides faced each other.

In all there have been just eight encounters between the teams with Millwall winning four, two games drawn and Rochdale victorious in the other two fixtures.

Ironically all eight meetings came within the space of five years in the late 1950s/early 1960s when the clubs were both in the old Fourth Division, now known as League Two.

Last time we met: Having already shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw at The Den on 16th April 1965, Millwall visited Dale just five days later on the following Wednesday.

There was to be no goal joy once again for the Greater Manchester outfit, who were unable to find a way through a well organised defence and the unbeatable Alex Stepney in goal.

In a season that was to end in promotion for The Lion, a penalty by Dennis John coupled with Hugh Curran's goal secured a 2-0 awayday win for Billy Gray's side.

Rochdale: Not available

Millwall: Stepney, John, Cripps, Jones, Snowdon, Gough, Rowan, Julians, Gilchrist, Curran, Gray. * No substitutes allowed in those days!
Scorers: John (pen), Curran

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