Opposition Insight | Rochdale

By Brad Saxton | Image by Tom Poole

Ahead of our return to Vanarama National League action this Saturday, we take a look at our next opponents, Rochdale.  

After being relegated from the Football League last season, Dale have made a promising start to life in Non-League’s top-tier so far this season, as they currently sit one place and two points outside of the playoff positions.

However, back-to-back defeats in their last two games has meant they’ll look to return to winning ways against the Minstermen this weekend, after they most recently fell to a 5-1 home defeat to Gateshead on Tuesday evening in the Isuzu FA Trophy 3rd Round.

Home form this season has been hit-and-miss for Rochdale, having won four, drawn three and lost five of their opening twelve games on home soil in all competitions.

Manager: Jim McNulty 

McNulty was appointed as Rochdale’s manager on a two-year deal following the club’s relegation from League Two in the summer.

He was unable to keep the club’s place in the Football League after being appointed as the club’s Interim Manager back in March 2023 following the sacking of Jim Bentley.

Prior to stepping up into management, he spent eight years with the club at the Crown Oil Arena, making over 200 appearances for Rochdale following his arrival from Bury in 2015.

The 38-year-old former Scottish youth international started his playing career at Welsh side Wrexham, before later going on to appear for the likes of Macclesfield, Stockport County and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Top Scorer: Kairo Mitchell 

The 26-year-old forward has found the back of the net 10 times so far this season in 21 National League appearances after he joined the club at the start of the season following his departure from League Two side Notts County.

After coming through the youth set-up at Leicester City, he played for the likes of Nuneaton Borough, Kings Lynn Town and Chesterfield, before he joined Notts County in the summer of 2021.

After spending two years at Meadow Lane, he spent a brief spell on the south coast on loan at fellow National League side Eastleigh, before departing the Midlands club this summer.

Mitchell has also been capped 18 times by his country, Grenada, and has scored on two separate occasions for his nation.

The forward is currently suffering an injury and will play no part in the fixture against the Minstermen.

One to Watch: Adam Clayton 

The vastly-experienced midfielder will be the one to watch out for this weekend for Rochdale if chosen for selection.

At 34-years of age, Clayton has created a successful playing career in the Football League, having turned out for the likes of Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Doncaster Rovers.

Clayton joined Rochdale this summer following his release from Bradford City and has so far made twenty-two appearances for the club in the National League this season.

The only game he missed this season was the reverse fixture between the two sides back in August at the LNER Community Stadium, which Clayton missed through suspension.


This weekend’s game will be the second time both sides have met this season after originally meeting back in August at the LNER Community Stadium, a game in which Rochdale ran out as 3-1 winners.

Prior to this fixture, the last time both York and Rochdale went head-to-head was in April 2014, a game in which ended goalless at the Crown Oil Arena.

In the last five fixtures between the two sides, three of those games have ended a 0-0 draws, whilst both sides recorded one victory each.

The last time the Minstermen beat Rochdale was in a 3-2 win at the Crown Oil Arena on the 1st December 2012.