Manager Keith Hill has admitted that the players have developed quicker than he could ever have imagined.
Hill has consistently said that this season was about developing his new group of players, the majority of who were brought to the club in the summer, as well as creating a new identity for Rochdale Football Club.
Rochdale currently sit top of the Sky Bet League Two table, and with just six games remaining, he is full of praise for his "united" squad.
“The players have taken to task tremendously and they’re united,” Hill told Dale Player. “It’s really special how much they’re united - the players like spending time with each other and that’s a recipe for success.
“Not matter what happens this season we’ve already had success with that balance in the dressing room, with that balance to what we do in training, and in the games.
“In pre-season you put a group of players together but you don’t know what’s going to happen. You want to try and manipulate, you try to insist on an environment that you want be created, and the players have created it. They've created it in my image from what I expect from a changing room and the players have policed it.
“The players have not just embraced it, but they’ve enhanced it as well. They’ve made it better than I thought it could be. They compliment each other superbly well, they enjoy spending time with each other and I think if you enjoy spending time with each other, you will be successful, whether it’s in a football team or whether it’s in life, and at this moment in time the players are very, very happy.”
Dale go into Saturday’s game unbeaten in five, during which they’ve kept four clean sheets, something which pleases the Gaffer.
“We’re pleased with the clean sheets. There’s a calmness to what we’re doing and I’m really impressed with the calmness from the supporters as well - I think they’re enjoying the journey. They’re not putting pressure on the players and I feel as though the support shown to the players is helping them.
“There has been so much talk in the media about pressure, whether Liverpool can handle the pressure etc, but we don’t know until it actually happens and we can learn from a result of the impact that the games have on the players.
“I haven’t sensed any pressure from or to the players. They’re playing happy and I feel as though we’ve achieved everything that we needed to achieve this season. We now find ourselves in a special and unique situation with an opportunity, and sometimes you’ve just got to roll with it.”
On this weekend’s game against York, Hill commented: “They’re a good side, I think they’re in excellent form and Nigel [Worthington, York Manager] has done an excellent job. It’s going to be a difficult game for us, but likewise, it’s going to be a difficult game for them.”
The full interview can be found on Dale Player.