Manager Keith Hill spoke to Dale Player ahead of his side’s important League One fixture v MK Dons at Spotland.
Saturday’s game is Rochdale's final home game (of the regular) season and the side is still in contention for a top six finish.
Hill is delighted with what Dale have achieved this season heading into the final two games.
“It has been an exciting season. There was a lot of trepidation when you consider the start of the season and how we started, but we rolled into the season really well.
“It has been a strange league, but you’ve got to play the league – you can’t play the season if you like. It’s not last season, it’s not the season before because that's history. You’ve got to play the league and the format this season and that’s what we’ve done.
“At this moment in time we’re the only team outside of the play-offs who can actually make an impact and we’ve got to take care of business.
MK Dons are the division’s leading scorers after netting 93 league goals this season - Hill is wary of the threat that they pose.
“There won’t be a sterner test for us, and there hasn’t been all season. For MK Dons to score so many goals and have the players that they have available it is quite frightening. What they’ve done this season is immense.”
Saturday’s fixture is arguably the biggest of the season, but Hill says that there is no pressure on his players.
“The pressure has been off us since we got safety. That was our remit at the beginning of the season and for us to be still challenging and have an outside chance going into the last two games is brilliant. We’ve got to put everything into the game but also we’ve got to be very respectful of the opposition because they can pull and rip you to shreds at the slightest hint of a mistake from one of our players.
“They only other team like that is Swindon so we’ve got to have learnt our lessons from that game. For me, Bristol City and Preston have got an unbelievable mentality when it comes to winning, but from a purist point of view from a footballing and entertaining value, MK and Swindon have probably offered the best in the league.”
Dale secured a point when the sides met at stadium-mk in November, despite a somewhat depleted squad. Hill has been faced with similar problems throughout the season and he reckons that makes Dale's position even more special.
“When you’re involved in the emotions of the game, you think you probably should have got all three points but when you look at the stats and you analyse the game itself, we were lucky to get a point,” laughed Hill.
"We had a lot of injuries that night – we sustained an injury early in the game and we sustained an injury on the day of the game in Matty Lund while training in preparation. We were also without Peter Vincenti, as well as Matty Done who was suspended. We were a lot of players down, but that’s what we’ve had to deal with all season. I commented on it after Tuesday's game that we’ve adapted so well with respect to being without key players. There have been key incidents that have affected the planning of a game, so we’ve done quite well.”
The full interview is on Dale Player.