Manager Keith Hill has been looking ahead to Saturday’s League One fixture against Barnsley in his latest interview.
The Tykes have had started the season in a familiar fashion to Dale having picked up seven points from their opening four league fixtures, and they also put on an excellent showing in their midweek Capital One Cup match.
Speaking ahead of the weekend's game, Hill told Dale PlayerHD: “Barnsley have got the youngest squad in the Football League. It’s being designed that way, which is brilliant because they’re giving youth a chance and they’re recruiting good youth players.
“I think they’ve got a good chance this season but if not this season then next season. They’re probably a top six budget side and a top six side in the league, but that will depend on how the young players that they’ve got will respond to the rigours and the psychological responsibility of a 46 game season."
He added: “[Barnsley’s game against Everton] produced 50 shots on goal, which is a fantastic amount of entertainment. They’re a good side and have got a good manager in Johno (Lee Johnson).
“For me, they’re one of the favourites for automatic promotion/ play-off place but Saturday is just one of two times that we’ll play Barnsley in the league this season and we’re in good shape ourselves.”
Dale head into the match following Tuesday night’s narrow defeat to Championship side Hull City and Hill admits that he has taken plenty of positives from the game.
“If you’re going to lose, then you want to lose like the way we did. We obviously don’t want to lose and you don’t prepare yourself to lose.
“I thought we were outstanding in our performance against a team that I think will be challenging for Premier League status come the end of the season.”
The full interview is available to view on Dale PlayerHD.