Club chairman accepts underdogs tag in League One promotion battle

·2-min read

Rochdale chairman Andy Mazey says they will accept the underdog tag in the battle for promotion to the Championship in 2022.

The Hornets surprisingly missed out on the play-offs last season, which were eventually won by Workington Town.

With Swinton and Oldham dropping down from the second tier, and newboys Cornwall as yet an unknown quantity, it promises to be an exciting campaign.

Writing on the club’s official website, Andy Mazey said: “We can no longer be under any illusion as to just how tough the League One competition is after the year we had.

“We do not for one minute underestimate the challenge that lies ahead. We understand that big-spending Keighley are probably rightly bookies favourites

“The teams coming down from the Championship, Swinton in particular, do so with a higher level of funding and a considerable amount of government furlough money tucked away in the bank.

“These clubs had the moment in time good fortune of operating Championship payrolls throughout the pandemic with government furlough scheme’s covering the vast majority of liabilities whilst still receiving full Championship distribution.

“This good fortune means for one year only they can utilise surplus funds to retain players on championship salaries in an attempt to bounce straight back.

“We will however accept the underdog tag gratefully having finished 7th in 2021 and continue to quietly go about our business with what feels like a good blend of youth and experience.

“I have no doubt that this group under Matt (Calland) and Gary’s (Thornton) coaching and guidance will be very competitive and will deliver an exciting brand of rugby league for our supporters.”

Promotion battle

Rochdale are priced at 7/1 fourth favourites for the League One title, behind Swinton and Oldham, as well as 5/2 favourites Keighley.

ODDS: Keighley favourites to finish top of League One

North Wales may also be fancied after their fine run in the second half of last season.

Doncaster may seem underpriced at 12/1 given their consistency and run to the play-off final.

As well as Cornwall, there will be another new name in League One next season.

Coventry Bears have rebranded to Midlands Hurricanes, with the tireless Alan Robinson still at the helm.

Meanwhile, Mazey has also revealed that Rochdale has successfully applied for a newly accredited RFL Development Academy.

In partnership with the local college, the newly rebranded Hopwood Hornets will continue to provide a player development pathway.

Rochdale are also hoping to host an international between England and Fiji ahead of the re-arranged World Cup.

The game had been due to take place in 2021 prior to the tournament, now put back to 2022.

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