Assistant Manager Chris Beech spoke to Dale Player ahead of Saturday’s League One fixture against Scunthorpe United at Spotland.
Dale head into the match after having reached the 50-point milestone on Tuesday night and find themselves just four points outside of the play-offs with two games in hand on the majority of teams above them.
Saturday’s game is the first of the eleven games which remain this season, and Beech admits he’s pleased with where Dale are as the team approaches the final phase of the season.
“The position we’re in is excellent,” said Beech.
“We’ve been breaking the season down into different phases and we’re one game off finishing phase three, which then brings us into phase four. That’s how we’ve broken the season down into the players’ minds.
“The last ten games are about sprinting for the line. You can’t win a football match in the first minute and you can’t win a race at the starting line - you can only ever win it at the end. We’re now on a run in to the line and we’re going to go for it as fast as we can.
“We’ll be patient in getting to that line, though, because you can go too early and not quite make it. It’s about breaking it down and looking at how we can get and attain success, so there are three points in front of us tomorrow that are available. They’re never guaranteed – both teams start with one and we’ve got to turn them into three. We’ve got to earn that right, so we’ve talked a lot about how we do that.”
He continued: “You’ve generally seen this season how we have tried to achieve that. We’re scoring lots of goals and there’s lots of positive play, but we’ve never really been on the rack in terms of poor form.
“We hit that point in February when we conceded five goals in two games in fifteen minutes of football, just after Matty had gone to Sheffield United. It threw, I suppose, a negative psychology about, but we were strong and we know what we are. We know what we try to achieve and the players deserve a hundred percent support in forgiveness of making mistakes while we try and achieve that, because believe me, me and Keith will let them know and tell them where they’re not going too right.
“If they get that fully inclusive support from everybody else, it will really create a momentum and a crescendo into phase four, which is the last ten games. We’ve got Scunthorpe tomorrow, which will bring us to that point.”
Beech added: “Scunthorpe have done really well and they also did excellently last season and got promoted alongside us.
“We could never get the better of them, even although we played good football at times. There were also times within it when the game changed because we had two or three sendings off against them. We know they’ve changed a lot since that point in terms of how they try and play the football, and they’ve recruited a lot of players.
“They’re in a different position to us and they’ll be coming here to try their best to get their three points, as we will be to try and gain them for us.”
The full 21 minute interview is available to view on Dale Player.
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