As Boro prepare to face Rochdale in the second round of the Carabao Cup tonight (7.45pm), we take a look at some of our common denominators...
Academy graduate Kennedy made his Boro debut as a substitute in a Premier League match against Fulham in 2005, and was one of a host of Teesside youngsters to feature against the same opponents in the final league outing of Steve McClaren’s Boro tenure a year later. He made seven appearances in total for Boro, three in the UEFA Cup, before moving on to Darlington. Kennedy joined Rochdale in 2009, making over 200 appearances there over the next three seasons. The midfielder was part of the Rochdale team which, under the tutelage of current manager Keith Hill during his first spell in charge at Spotland, ended the club’s 41-year wait for promotion. Kennedy now plays his football with Carlisle.
Rochdale were one of three clubs that Rhodes had loan spells with during the early years of his career while an Ipswich Town player. Having spent time with Oxford in the Conference, the striker scored twice in just five League Two games with Dale in the 2008/09 season, and added a further seven with Brentford in the same division later in the campaign. It was enough to convince Huddersfield to sign the forward in the summer of 2009, and that was when his career - and goalscoring - really took off.
Guisborough-born full-back Mark Kitching (pictured above) progressed through the ranks of Boro’s Academy, and was a regular on pre-season excursions to Marbella during Aitor Karanka’s time in charge at the club. He was named on Boro’s bench for First Team fixtures twice, but never made his full debut here before joining Rochdale in January 2017. It was initially a loan arrangement, but after suitably impressing on his debut a few days later, Dale moved quickly to sign Kitching on a permanent basis. He made 29 appearances in 18 months with the club, scoring twice, and featured as Dale earned an unlikely FA Cup fifth round replay against Tottenham Hostpur last season. Kitching subsequently joined Hartlepool earlier this summer.
While a promising youngster with Manchester City, Irish midfielder Flood made the short journey to Rochdale to gain First Team experience in 2004. He’d also feature for Coventry City, Cardiff City, Dundee United and Celtic before joining Boro alongside Bhoys teammates Barry Robson and Chris Killen in 2009. Flood played sixteen times in his single season on Teesside, scoring once in memorable fashion against Swansea City. After several spells with Dundee United in his career, Flood returned to train with the Scottish club last week after a move to Indonesia with Bali United collapsed.
Connor is another who began his career at Boro without making a senior appearance. Signed by the club shortly after leaving school, the Bishop Auckland-born striker had spells on loan with Gateshead, Hartlepool United and latterly Stoke City, who he subsequently joined on a permanent deal in 1999. Two years later, he would move to Spotland for a fee of £150,000, a fee which still stands to this day as the most Rochdale have ever spent on a player. Connor was an immediate success at Dale, his ten goals taking the club to the brink of the Play-Offs in his first season – a feat which they did achieve the following year, though having narrowly missed out on the automatic promotion spots, they were also edged out by Dagenham and Redbridge in the Play-Off semi-finals. Connor was also part of the Rochdale team that reached the FA Cup fifth round in 2002-03 before moving on to Swansea City, where he would forge an effective partnership with Lee Trundle.