The countdown to pre-season is now well underway with preparations for the new campaign in full swing.
Dale’s full summer schedule was confirmed last week following the announcement that Halifax Town had become the seventh and final friendly to be added to the list, while the players will report back in just over three weeks time before heading to Tenerife on their pre-season camp.
Manager Keith Hill admits he is pleased with the progress so far, but says there is more hard work to do before and during pre-season.
“We’ve got seven working weeks left between now and the first game of the season and there’s going to be further activity between now and then to get our team ready for that,” said the Gaffer.
“A lot of hard work has gone on since the end of last season and I’m excited by the prospect of our plans coming to fruition for pre-season. I’m really excited about the trip to Tenerife and the pre-season games that we’ve got, but really the measure of our success will be the 46 games of the season because that’s where we are judged.
“During pre-season we will put down our markers about what we expect from the players individually and collectively. We will create a team spirit, set our team ethics and encourage the willingness to win and to support one another through thick and thin. There will be no stone unturned because want to be successful – success is at least a play-off place and progressing and developing the young players.”
Keith Hill’s squad for next season continued to take shape this week with the announcement that Andrew Tutte has agreed a new two year deal with the club.
The 22-year-old was the latest out of contract player to accept new terms and followed Steve Collis, Ian Henderson, Joe Rafferty and Michael Rose in doing so.
Hill admits he’s pleased to have retained them.
“I’m delighted at being able to secure Michael Rose and Ian Henderson because they are big signings for us. I’m also excited by Andrew Tutte and Joe Rafferty too because I believe there’s a lot more to come from them.
“And I make you a promise about Ian Henderson, we have not burst the bank. Ian has come a long way our way to remain at the Football Club. I know what type of money was being offered by clubs down south and we couldn’t get anywhere near it but a balance has been struck.
“He really enjoyed his time working for the Football Club and he’s begged the question for us to push on for at least a play-off place. He’s really excited about the prospects of next season and working alongside myself, the staff and the rest of the players.
“We have a kindred idea of how the game should be played and he’s compatible with that so I’m really glad that we haven’t lost out to some of the bigger fish in League Two and teams in League One.
“It is testament to the way that we’ve done things at Rochdale that Ian has wanted to secure his future to the Football Club and I’m quite sure that we can be successful next season with that type of signing.”