Rochdale head to Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium this Saturday for the final away game of the season.
Keith Hill’s side go into the encounter on the back of last weekend’s well deserved draw against Port Vale, a game the Manager has taken many positives from.
“We could possibly have gone on to lose that game but our performance reflected more rewards and we came back really well because the players didn’t want to go under,” Hill told Dale Player. “I think they were feeling there was an injustice going on but we got our rewards with the equaliser. The way we celebrated was as though we were fighting for promotion ourselves.
“That game was a real keen contest and I thought it was a great advertisement for what I want and what we’ve worked hard to try and achieve.”
Recent results has seen Dale slip to just one defeat in nine, a vein of form which has steered the side clear of the relegation zone heading into the final two games of the season. Although the promotion play-off places are out of reach, Hill has an eye on a top ten finish:
“It is a massive aim. Arguably there’s nothing for us to play for apart from a little bit of pride, but I expect us to be competitive regardless of who we are playing and regardless of the state of the season. We’re always looking up and looking at the teams above us.
“We’re in good spirits and I’m seeing a lot of reflection on what I expect as an identity of the way games should be played, with and without the ball. The players are looking good in performances, so I’m pleased going into the last two games of the season.
“That [fighting] spirit breeds a winning environment. There’s a great feeling about preparing yourself to win instead of expecting to lose. We’ve changed the psyche slightly of the way that we train and what I demand from the players in training on a regular basis. I believe what I demand promotes a winning mentality and a winning environment.
He added: “I feel as though there’s an air of anticipation from our supporters and little bit of excitement again. There’s an excitement in the changing rooms and in the staff office and I’m really glad that I came back to the football club.
You can listen to Hilly’s full interview on DALE PLAYER now.