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CCF Rebooted: No.7 - Matt Done
Tuesday, 2nd Feb 2021 13:05 by atthepeake

It feels like Matt Done's time with Rochdale should be written across three different articles, such have been the fluctuations in form and circumstance in his three separate stints with the club.

Position: Left back/Left Midfielder/Forward

Arrived from: Hereford (1st spell), Barnsley (2nd spell), Sheffield United (3rd spell)

Played : 2010-2011 (1st spell), 2013-2015 (2nd spell), 2017-current (3rd spell)

Appearances : 218 and counting (33 1st spell, 61 2nd spell, 124 and counting 3rd spell)

Goals : 24 (5 1st spell, 10 2nd spell, 9 3rd spell)

Left for: Barnsley (1st spell), Sheffield United (2nd spell)

Joining ahead of the 2010/2011 campaign, Done was never seen by the supporters as anything more than an option at first, having been a rotation player at both Wrexham and Hereford, scoring just once in his first 110 appearances as a Football League player.

Indeed, it wouldn't be until the end of September until Done would make his first appearance, but it didn't take long for Keith Hill to see the potential in him as a more central player than the left-sided role he had taken up previously in his career.

He scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 derby draw with Oldham and would score five times in the 2010/2011 season, operating as an attacking midfielder in the space behind Anthony Elding and later Liam Dickinson and seemingly growing in sharpness and confidence as the season went on, as typified by a wonderful touch and finish in injury-time of a 3-1 home win over Bristol Rovers.

When the season came to an end, Done would join Scott Wiseman in leaving the club with manager Keith Hill to join Barnsley, but he never nailed down a starting spot with the Tykes and spent time on loan at Scottish side Hibernian in order to try and find his feet.

It was seen as a bit of a coup still when Done returned to Dale at the start of the 2013/2014 campaign and although he was a first-choice player during the promotion campaign, he made 44 appearances in a series of different positions, filling in on the left, in central midfield, as a striker and even, on occasion, at left-back - most notably in the FA Cup win over Leeds.

It was the season after, in League One, when Done really enjoyed his best spell in a Dale shirt. Playing either as a pressing lone striker when Henderson was in a wide role, or as part of a front two with his great friend, Done was in electric form in front of goal in 2014/2015.

Not only did he display the best of his qualities with the ball in this season, but particularly in away fixtures his relentless energy and pressing endeared him to the supporters even more, particularly during this spell.

10 goals in 23 appearances, including a brilliantly taken brace in a thrilling away win at Leyton Orient in which Dale had gone behind with 10 men in the first-half, saw Done secure a move to Sheffield United in January, much to the annoyance of a Dale support hoping for a play-off tilt.

He was seen as a hard-working player by the Bramall Lane faithful, again proving to be a handy squad option by playing in several different position and chipping in with 14 goals in his 77 appearances in a spell that included promotion from League One in his final year with the South Yorkshire club.

Perhaps not being seen as a Championship player, Done was moved on by Chris Wilder that summer and his destination once again was Spotland.

He featured in every league game of the 2016/2017 campaign as Dale finished above the relegation zone by just one point, but never really hit his best form. Again he was moved around the pitch on several occasions, but mainly featured as a left-back in this campaign. He did however, chip in with six league goals, including the only strike in a 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers in October.

Since then, it's fair to say that Done's form has fluctuated at Dale. Never seemingly performing at the level we've seen him to be capable of in the past, perhaps a lack of consistent outings in the same position have held him back as well as the pace that was so pivotal to his game clearly waning in recent years.

This term has shown Done to be perhaps below the level required in League One, particularly as a full-back, but it would be a shame for Dale supporters to remember this version of Done, rather than those previous.

He has made over 200 league appearances for Dale over these three spells and scored some excellent goals within them. Hopefully, with time, Done will be fondly remembered for his contributions in some excellent Dale campaigns, not least the 2013/2014 promotion and the following season in which he terrorised League One defences at both Spotland and Bramall Lane.

Photo: Action Images

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