Rochdale’s final UK pre-season fixture was confirmed on Friday with a trip to local neighbours Oldham pencilled in for Saturday 20th July. This adds to Blackburn, Huddersfield and Bradford at Spotland on the 14th, 17th and 27th of July respectively and away trips to Ramsbottom and Hyde on the 24th and 30th of July.
With the new kits released on Saturday ahead of the new season, this is a great time to predict what’s potentially ahead for the Spotland faithful this coming season.
Much is being made about the lack of business or contract news coming from the club so far this summer. Players are still under contract until the 30th of June, and it has become quite common for players to delay contract offers while they or their agents assess all their options and see if a better offer comes in.
It is safe to assume at least half of the players offered deals will sign, namely Matty Done, Jimmy Keohane, Aaron Morley, Kgosi Ntlhe, Ollie Rathbone, Brad Wade, Aaron Wilbraham and the Youth Team’s Lewis Bradley, Harrison Hopper, Florent Hoti and Fabio Tavares.
With Rochdale having a rather large squad last season I do not personally expect an abundance of signings this summer, rather more quality over quantity.
With the right additions, League One can be a lot more comfortable for Rochdale this coming season. A mid-table finish has to be an achievable goal. If they can avoid the many defensive errors and inconsistent performances from certain players that led to Dale struggling last season.
With Brian Barry-Murphy taking the squad to Portugal on July 4th for warm weather training, this will be his chance to assess how well fitness has been maintained over the close season and see where perhaps signings may be needed.