The Coasters kick off 2024 with a home fixture against Rochdale looking to bounce back after a defeat at the Crown Oil Arena on Boxing day.
A 2-0 defeat sees the Coasters sitting bottom of the pile and without a win since October. However, performances on the pitch are improving as on Boxing day there was nothing between the 2 sides except Rochdale were more clinical in taking there chances.
A lob from Ian Henderson which looked offside gave the home side the lead until the 96th minute when Kwaku Oduroh finished into an empty net to give Dale all 3 points. With the Coasters falling further behind the rest of the pack, every game is vital and picking up points is a necessity in order to stay up.
However, for Dale they are looking upwards and trying to force their way into the playoffs, currently sitting in 8th.
The Manager: Jimmy McNulty
At 38 years old, Jim is arguably one of the least experienced managers in the division, however his vast playing career makes up for that. Runcorn born, Jimmy started his career off at Merseyside clubs, Liverpool and Everton before settling for his first pro contract at Wrexham. However, Jim only made 1 appearance for the Welsh outfit and soon found himself out the door. A brief spell at Bangor City was then followed up by 2 seasons at Caernarfon Town.
In those 2 seasons Jim made over 60 appearances and was made captain at the age of 19 showing leadership qualities from an early age. The hard work paid off and Jim was soon back in English football with League 2 Macclesfield Town. Jim once again spent 2 years with the club solidifying their place in the EFL before moving to Stockport County. Jim helped County get promoted to League one before having to be sold in the 2007-08 season due to financial issues. He moved to fellow League one side Brighton & Hove Albion.
However, Jim never really settled down south and spent 2 of his 3 seasons with the Sussex club out on loan to Championship side Scunthorpe United. After them 2 loan spells with Scunthorpe, Mcnulty moved up to Yorkshire and joined Barnsley on a 2 year deal from the 2011-12 season. In the 2013-14 season Mcnulty joined Tranmere Rovers on loan after falling out of favour at Barnsley and at the season he moved permanently away from the club to join Bury FC.
He once again spent 2 seasons at the club and in his second season helped the club gain promotion to League one. However, at the end of that season he decided to depart the club and join fierce rivals Rochdale who also played in League One. Mcnulty has been at the club since 2015 and has become something of a fans favourite making just shy of 200 appearances for Dale and now taking charge of them.
Ian Henderson – Rochdale’s record goalscorer, Legend for the club and still fighting fit at the age of 38. A leader with so much experience and knows what it means to play for the club. Hendo will be a key player if Rochdale have ambitions of the playoffs.
Louie Moulden – Only here for the season, but he is making it one to remember for the Dale fans not only with his shot-stopping but also with his assists. Currently on 5 for the season, Moulden is a key figure for Dale.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell – The Man at the back, who is another reason for why Rochdale are doing relatively well this season. A solid defender who is calm on the ball and can put a challenge in.
26th December 2023
Rochdale 2 vs 0 AFC Fylde
Goalscorers: Dale- Ian Henderson, Kwaku Oduroh.
One defeat in their last five but also only two wins shows the lack of consistency from the Dale which shows why they are just missing out on them vital playoff places at the minute. A lack of goals and creativity is a problem for Mcnulty’s men.
However, with a solid defence behind them the Dale can achieve anything they want to this season. Mcnulty will want a better performance from his side on New Years day however as the Coasters pushed his side all the way to the end to get the 3 points, Mcnulty will want a smoother game in 2024.