Manager Keith Hill says his squad is in “better shape” this week, with the majority of his players showing a clean bill of health.
It’s a stark contrast to last week when Hill’s pre-match preparations were thrown into chaos due the illness which spread through the squad.
“It seems to be a little bit fresher,” Hill told Dale Player ahead of Saturday’s trip to Colchester United.
“Joe Bunney hasn’t been with us all week (due to illness) and Rhys Bennett hasn’t been with us either because he’s had to have an emergency operation (due to an abscess on a tooth). Those two players won’t travel for the weekend’s game, but the rest of the players seem quite healthy.
“With the return of Matty Done from suspension, and Matty Lund and Andy Cannon from illness, we seem to be in better shape, not only for this weekend’s fixture, but for the five fixtures that we have in the next sixteen days.”
Sunday's FA Cup tie at Aldershot Town saw the return of Peter Vincenti, who made his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury back in October. He completed a full 90 minutes, something Hill is delighted with.
“Peter has been a key player since he has been at the football club and has done exceptionally well. There’s a vibrancy on the training pitch when Peter is on it, and on matchday days as well. We can’t expect too much from him too early, though, but I do have to play him and give him game time to get him up to match speed again.
“When he got injured he was probably right on point – it was probably the best Peter was performing with respect to his goals ratio and proving goals as well. He was in exceptional form and we will get him back to that, there’s no question about that.
“It’s great to have him back on the training pitch and back on the team sheet, but again, I can’t expect too much from him, the players can’t and the supporters won’t, however, they will know what to expect when he actually breaks down that wall and he becomes 100-percent match fit again.”
The squad set off on the trip to Colchester on Friday morning, and Hill is expecting a difficult game against the U’s who recorded a 1-0 FA Cup win over Peterborough United last weekend.
“Colchester had a real positive bounce in the FA Cup. They’re a good side and they’ve got League One experience. They're a League One Football Club and it’s important that we continue to learn no matter who our opposition is.
“I’m looking forward to the next five games, this one included, because it can really give us a great opportunity. We’re three points short of the target that I set the players and we’ve got an FA Cup fixture replay to play, then we can go into the New Year with a real vibrancy and a real sense of achievement, first and foremost, but then try to kick on because it’s, for me, apart from the top five, a really tight league.”
The full interview is available to view on Dale Player.