Manager Keith Hill looks ahead to this weekend's League Two encounter against Wycombe Wanderers
Rochdale welcome Wycombe Wanderers to Spotland this Saturday and Manager Keith Hill is looking for a response from his players following defeats at the hands of Accrington Stanley and Morecambe last week.
“Football is like any sport – it has got to be competitive," said Hill. "I know there’s a lot of talent in the squad but the players have got to utilise that within the team and show a competitive nature. I always prided myself when I was Rochdale manager previously looking at fixtures like Morecambe and Accrington and thinking that out of four games in a season, we should be picking up nine points.
“We’ve got to turn that full circle again where we’ve got a competitive and talented squad of players who are hungry for individual and collective success, and success on behalf of the supporters. It is my job to encourage the players to show a desire and a hunger to win football matches on behalf of the supporters.”
Rochdale have a busy fixture list in March with six matches still to come this month, and Hill is looking for the players to take responsibility: “We have got to collectively combine our efforts to get as many points as we can then we can start building again. It’s up to the players to express themselves on matchdays. Training for me has always been a vehicle for progression, development, enthusiasm, energy and commitment to a matchday and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got that in matches against the opposition that we don’t know. With respect to training, the players are competitive in their own environment, but taking them out of that and playing them against Wycombe at the weekend, we’ve got to show the same expression and the same value they show in training.”
He continued: “With regards to Wycombe, I believe they are one of the best sides in the division and apart from a bad start I believe they would have been competing potentially for the play-offs or automatic promotion because they play the game the right way. I think Gareth (Wycombe Manager Gareth Ainsworth) has done a very good job with the players that he’s got at his disposal. He’s created a great environment where the players want to learn, want to improve and there’s a collective effort – everyone is singing from the same song sheet and are firing in the same direction.”
Captain Peter Cavanagh has missed Dale’s last four league matches due to a calf injury but could feature this weekend. “He’s trained for the last week competitively,” said Hill. “He’s looked alright in training so there is a chance that he might be involved at the weekend.”
You can listen to Hilly’s full 10 minute interview on Dale Player now.