Rochdale have been relegated to League 2 after being beaten by relegation rivals Chesterfield despite both managers admitting that Rochdale were the better side.
Already club chairman Chris Dunphy is counting the costs of being unable to survive in League 1 and this could show in the sort of team they have next season and whether they will be able to compete to win promotion at the first time of asking. John Coleman will have a tough job on his hands and will need to use all of his experience if he wants to succeed at Spotland now. He replaced former manager Steve Eyre who didn’t have the greatest of times and was sacked in December when the club were 22nd in the table so it was always going to be tough for the former Accrington Stanley manager to keep them up. Even though Coleman has won only four of his 17 games in charge I hope he is given the chance to do well because he had a good record at Accrington and won 40.20% of his games so if he is able to get a decent squad together it wouldn’t surprise me if they were one of the best teams in the league.
Looking at their current squad and who could possibly stay, are they good enough? I think there midfield is where they are at their best as they have club captain Gary Jones who they hope will stay not only because of his experience but also because of his all round ability. He can score goals from midfield with him hitting over 50 for the club but maybe this is why they have struggled slightly this year because he only has six and his goals were a big reason why they performed so well last season. Nicky Adams is another that I think they need to keep because he is a very hard worker and never lets the team down although he has been criticised at times this year from some fans and maybe this has been slightly harsh.
Ashley Grimes is another very good player who started the season very well and looked like a natural finisher who would score a lot of goals this year. He has scored eight goals in 36 league games which isn’t terrible especially for a team that are struggling but maybe he would have been expecting a few more. However, I believe if he is played up front next year he will finish as the League 2 top scorer. Another striker they have is Jean Louis Akpa Akpro who must delight and infuriate fans so much because he can produce some moments of real quality and then make a wrong decision or play a poor final ball. However, he is another that I think will score goals in League 2.
Rochdale in my opinion should be able to bounce straight back as long as they don’t suffer too much financially and keep faith with their manager and their squad. They certainly have goals in the team so maybe they just need to improve their defence slightly as they have conceded 77 goals this season.