Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on a “very testing” November, in his latest Dale Player.
A packed fixture list saw Dale play seven games during the month, while contending with suspensions, injuries and illness. Hill has told Dale Player that it was a difficult month, but remains confident for the rest of the season.
“It has been a difficult month. When you consider the start of November we had as close to our best eleven as you could possibly ask for against Preston, but since that day, through one thing or another – suspensions, sending-offs, illness and Jack O’Connell being cup tied - we’ve never really been able to have any continuity. Maybe I’ve changed it one or two times too many but I'm trying to search for a formula and when we’ve got key players missing then it’s a big burden for us to carry to get results. It has been very, very testing and disappointing, but understandable.
“If you look at the league at this moment in time we probably used our get out of jail free card. We were in a position after the Preston game where we couldn’t really fall too far with the points that we had amassed, but now we really have to start turning games into results, and we’re still, in my estimations, in front of ourselves. We’re three points shy of the target that I set the players but I expect the players to go beyond that target."
He continued: "It has been a difficult month, but a good month with respect to learning. It has allowed me to see how strong the squad is and to see if we have to improve in January. League One has been harsh on us in November because the players have made one or two mistakes which have cost us games, and the referees have made one or two mistakes that have cost us the opportunity in games to maybe get more than we have done - that has been disappointing.
“We’ve taken a big hit in November, but I’m still full of confidence with respect to the remainder of the season. After the midweek fixtures, even the teams below who have games in hand can’t catch us, and we’re still in the FA Cup, which is a big game for us this weekend."
The full interview is available to view on Dale Player.