Manager Keith Hill admits that he continues to be relatively pleased with the progression of the squad as we head towards Saturday’s trip to Home Park to face Plymouth Argyle.
Dale secured a point against promotion favourites Chesterfield last weekend in an entertaining encounter and Hill says he’s encouraged by the display.
He told Dale Player: “Performance wise it was more than acceptable. It was a massive challenge and it’s a difficult month when you consider the fixtures that we’ve got and had, but we’re encouraged by what we’ve done with the squad since we formulated it before pre-season started. We then moved into pre-season and now we’ve moved into the season with confidence, a plan and a certain style of how we want to play. We want to win football matches and we’re doing everything we can to do that and we’re creating opportunities, so I’m relatively pleased.”
He continued: The players are certainly trying to play to the standards that I expect with endeavour, energy and commitment, and we want to be a possession based side. I as a Manager have got to be able to forgive the players for making mistakes, they’ve got to forgive one another and they’ve shown that they are capable of doing that. There’s also a steeliness to our youth and there’s a metal steeliness. We went 1-0 down against Chesterfield but we didn’t go under. I think as soon as we went one goal down there’s a possibility that the opposition and the opposition fans expected us to go away, but we didn’t want to and that shows me that we’ve got a winning mentality, or a not losing mentality. The least you can get out of a game is a draw if you’ve got that type of mentality.”
Dale make the 600 mile round trip to Home Park this weekend and Hill is expecting a difficult encounter against the Pilgrims.
“They’ve got a good Manager and let’s be right, with the fan base they’ve got they’ve probably got one of the better budgets in the league because of the financial fair play rules and I do expect them to be challenging under John Sheridan who has been there, done it and seen it before in this league. Home Park has a big pitch, it has a super surface and it will be a difficult place for teams to go, including us. But we’re going there with confidence and we’re going there with a plan. We’ve obviously scouted the opposition, we know their strengths, we know their perceived weaknesses and we want to go there and give a good account of ourselves but play to our strategies."