STUART McCall expects another good tussle with opposite number Keith Hill tomorrow.

Rochdale have loomed large during McCall’s two spells at the Valley Parade helm.

A costly 3-0 defeat at Spotland began the rot that saw City crash out of play-off contention during his second season in charge.

Dale inflicted another comprehensive beating the following term at Valley Parade shortly before McCall left the post.

But he gained some revenge last year with a 4-0 win in the corresponding fixture – City’s biggest victory margin of that campaign.

McCall admires the way Hill, the long-term Rochdale manager, has done his job.

He said: “Keith is a wily old manager who gets the best out of his team. He changes the system regularly and keeps motivating them.

“You’ve got to give credit to Keith and his staff for the number of players they’ve brought through over the years and sold on – they do that really well.

“Maybe the weight of expectation of winning promotion is not that much on them and they can blood a few young ones.

“But certainly going back to when I was first in management, they had some players who have gone on to achieve bigger things – especially the strikers and wingers. We had some tough games against them.”

Dale are currently languishing at the wrong end of the table but City will be taking no chances after bottom club Plymouth’s win last month.

McCall said: “I still believe they will give us as hard a game as anyone. They’ve got a good group of players.

“Look at the result last season, when we beat them 4-0. Rochdale were probably the better side for the first half hour.

“They got a man sent off, which helped us, and we scored all our goals either side of half-time.

“I watched them the other night in the FA Cup against Slough and they put in a professional performance.

“It’s another game where we’ve got to find a way to win. Without going over it again, we know the results at home haven’t been what we were looking for.

“It was nice to get through in the FA Cup last week. That was important to stop the run.

“But the lads are not fazed by that and they’re looking forward to coming back to a proper home atmosphere.”