Manager Keith Hill has been looking ahead to Dale’s season opener in his latest Dale Player interview.
While previewing Saturday’s encounter against Peterborough United, Hill admitted that everyone is excited to kick-off the new season.
“We’ve been excited and we’ve been preparing since the last game of last season. Pre-season has gone really well and we’ve got what we wanted out of the players. It’s a real life situation now so I’m looking forward to it. The players are looking forward to it and they’re really confident. And one thing I will say is that the players are really fit.”
He continued: “I’ve been really pleased with the way pre-season has gone. You have to lose games in pre-season. I’ve been through a pre-season where we’ve won every game and then in the first game of the season it has all gone falling on its head.
“We need to see right across the spectrum the players’ reaction to winning games, drawing games, losing games, to not playing well, to playing really well and that’s what I’m looking for in pre-season. We had all that and we addressed real life situations as they probably will occur during the season.
“I think we’re well prepared – we’ve only got two injuries and a suspension, so I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved.”
Dave Robertson brings his Posh side to Spotland for the opening day fixture and Hill is expecting a difficult game.
“I think it’s very brave of the [Peterborough] manager and the [Peterborough] chairman, who have basically said that they want to win the title.
“One or two of the players have said that, so their aims and ambitions are to win the title and if not, get promoted. They’ve set their stall out and they’ve been brave, but that’s confidence – I don’t think it’s arrogance.
“I know their Management staff, I know their Chairman and they have a real belief because they’ve done it before.
“They’re one of those teams that have invested heavily in the playing side of the football club but they do it where they are buying and recruiting players that they feel as though they can improve. They’ve got a very good business model – they spend money on players that they can develop and sell on for larger fees and they’ve done that exceptionally well over the years.”
The Spotland pitch is in a fantastic condition ahead of the campaign, something Hill is really pleased with.
“The pitch is absolutely superb. The ground staff have done an amazing job - they’ve got a real work ethos. The training pitch that we use at this moment in time is in superb condition.
“I’m really pleased with the state of the pitch and I think a lot of visiting managers and players will be as well.”
The full interview is available to view on Dale Player.