It has been a summer of change at Spotland as manager Keith Hill has reshaped a squad that finished 12th in League Two last term, and are 20/1 for the title this time round.
Key signings for the club include the retention of left back Michael Rose and the attack-minded Ian Henderson, both of whom were outstanding when brought in by Hill for the second half of the last campaign.
The latter scored three goals from a wide position, providing numerous assists in his 12 appearances and is plying his trade at least a division below his abilities.
Hill has also moved to bring in Football League experience in the shape of Peter Vincenti and undoubted quality in Matty Done, who was the subject of an alleged £600,000 bid from CrystalPalace when at Barnsley less than a year ago.
The loss of last year’s top goalscorer Bobby Grant would hinder many a side. But Hill has insisted that Done will more than compensate for the Liverpudlian’s quality and goals will be shared throughout the side.
Bustling striker George Donnelly flourished under Hill’s stewardship last season. The ex-Macclesfield striker netted five times between March and the end of the campaign, and could be a shrewd selection at 66/1 to top the division’s scoring charts.
The issue last year was not scoring – with only three teams netting more – but with defending.
Dale conceded 70 times in 2012-13, more than any other side and Hill has moved swiftly to plug that hole adding the highly rated Ashley Eastham from Blackpool, 24-year-old Olly Lancashire and highly rated Blackburn youngster Jack O’Connell to the back four.
Hill is the club’s most successful manager in history, after leading them to promotion for the first time in 41 years, before leaving for Championship club Barnsley.
His record at the Manchester-based club speaks for itself, making the play-offs in his first two full seasons, achieving promotion in his third and leading the club to their highest ever league position in his final year, as they ended ninth in League One, narrowly missing out on the play-offs.
Hill’s history of success with Rochdale and the astute signings make the 4/1 about promotion for the Dale a very backable proposition.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing