Manager Keith Hill says there is no expectation or pressure on his players ahead of this Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two encounter, which sees third placed Dale take on fourth placed Oxford United at Spotland.
He told Dale Player: “We’ve already achieved everything that I expected us to this this season – we’ve made money, we’re developing players and we’ve had success on the pitch.
“I can’t look into the future - you can’t even look into the future in football within a game, never mind a sequence of games. All I know is that we’re in good form, we’re looking forward to the game, we’re playing against the best team in the league, with respect to away performances and results. They’re also in a promotion fight and we’ll only really know the outcome of the game at 4.50pm/4.55pm.”
Hill has also urged supporters to manage their expectations ahead of the game. In the highly positive interview, he sent out a message to fans.
“There’s nothing on my paper, so I don’t really know what to expect,” said Hill as he waved a blank piece of paper in front of the camera. “That’s a blank piece of paper, so for you supporters who are turning up tomorrow, turn up with a blank piece of paper and make notes - it’s going to be a boringly, boringly obvious game. They sit two banks for four with two strikers up top and we play football. It’s going to be predictable like the Burton game was predictable – we have to manage that and you can help with this blank piece of paper, there’s no negativity on there.
You can watch the clip on our YouTube channel by clicking HERE (words don't do it justice).
Hill continued: “The players are playing happy and I won’t put any pressure on them, and I also won’t allow any of my players to put any pressure on any other players. We know the pressure is there, there’s an expectancy, which annoys me, but I like surprise success. You know, Jamie Allen, who he has been a massive surprise, Scott Hogan is a big surprise, and our success on the pitch is a surprise given that we’ve brought this squad together over a 12 month period.
“I just like to play happy, I like the players to play happy and I like them to go into every game to enjoy it, to try and win it, to have a competitive keen edge and to give everything they possibly can on behalf of the supporters and the football club, and by and large this season they’ve done that.”
The full interview is on Dale Player.