Championship Preview: Rochdale just want to survive

Drew Darbyshire

Rochdale Hornets are struggling with financial troubles off the field at the minute and they would be happy just to avoid relegation in 2018.

The Hornets had a pretty good season in 2017, finishing ninth in the Betfred Championship.

However, in the off-season, the club asked its players to take a pay cut, having struggled with financial issues.

As a result, they have lost two of their star players in Lewis Galbraith to Batley Bulldogs and Miles Greenwood who has retired, but he stays at the club as a conditioner.

And Rochdale head coach Alan Kilshaw says the club will just be happy to remain a Championship club this time next year.

He told “We are the lowest budget Championship club.

“We finished ninth last year but I’d be happy if we finished eighth but I’m sure the board will be happy if we’re still in the competition next year.

“We will get written off again but we’ve been here three years now. If we are still in the competition then that will be a success but for me, we want to finish higher than we did last year.

“We’ve had a little bit of disruption in the last few weeks with stuff off the field but in terms of training, we have done well and we have had a good pre-season. We’ve not got any serious injuries and I’m just looking forward to the season starting.”

Rochdale are dual-registration partners with Super League side Warrington Wolves and Kilshaw added that they are going to be reliant on a couple of Warrington players representing the Hornets every week.

He added: “I’m not going to make any bones about it, we will be relying on it.

“Warrington have not got a reserve grade this year which is going to be benefit us and I’ve had some good conversations with Steve (Price) already and we’ll get two or three players regularly made available and we are going to need it because we are quite a skinny squad.”

Head Coach: Alan Kilshaw

Assistant Coach: Jason Viller & Lee Westwood

Captains: Luke Adamson & Danny Yates

Key Man: Lewis Palfrey

One to Watch: Declan Kay

Ins: Dave Allen (Whitehaven), Toby Adamson (Dewsbury Rams), Luke Adamson (Oldham), Lee Mitchell (Warrington Wolves), Richard Lepori (Oldham), Lewis Hatton (Warrington Wolves), Billy Brickhill (Gloucestershire All Golds), Harry Reardon (Warrington Wolves).

Outs: Gavin Bennion (Salford Red Devils), Jono Smith (Barrow Raiders), Lewis Galbraith (Batley Bulldogs), Miles Greenwood (Retired), Chris Riley (Retired).

Squad: 2 Declan Kay, 3 Earl Hurst, 5 Rob Massam, 6 Lewis Palfrey, 7 Danny Yates, 8 Joe Taira, 9 Ben Moores, 10 Matty Hadden, 11 Dave Allen, 12 Toby Adamson, 13 Luke Adamson, 14 Ryan Maneely, 15 Lewis Hatton, 17 Aiden Hema, 18 Billy Brickhill, 19 Lee Mitchell, 20 Blake Turner, 21 Richard Lepori, 22 Alex Gaskell, 23 Gary Middlehurst, 24 Dec Gregory, 25 Callum Mulkeen, 27, Harry Reardon

 Prediction: 12th