With five league games of the 2015-16 season left to play, Assistant Manager Chris Beech reflects on what has been achieved so far, while giving his thoughts on the final run-in.
The dream of a top six finish is still alive heading into the “last lap” of the campaign, while Dale need just three points to better last season’s points tally.
Beech says everyone wants to finish the season strongly.
“With five games left you’ve got to be looking to definitely surpass that points total (from last season),” Beech told Dale PlayerHD.
“It was obviously very good last season but we want to better it. The players are in good form, they’re hungry and we definitely want to beat that points total.
“The players have gone full circle, if you like, and at the moment they’re very competitive and they’re very hungry, so we want to keep producing and taking that energy into every game. We’re still training very hard – although it’s mid-April we’ve been training like we would do at the start of the season.
“There’s a lot of football still to be played. We have five games and 15 points still to play for so we’re not going to relax. We’re looking for some good performances and to pick up points.”
He continued: “When you look at budgets and finances, we’ve already been very successful. We’ve secured our League 1 status, despite our budget representing a relegation dog-fight, so we’ve past that success. Now we’re in a position to move forwards to what could be never, never land.
“You can only ever win a race at the finish line. You can never win it at the start – you don’t get a gold medal until you actually cross that line, so we’re running hard on the last lap of the race, if you like, and we’ll see what happens.
“There will be pressured situations in terms of the teams in front of us and the teams in and around us, but there’s absolutely no pressure on our team.
“We've already been successful but can we turn it into a eureka moment? Who knows. What we do know is that we have to look after ourselves and take care of the traits that gain you the three points, because that’s all that’s in front of you. You can’t look at who is playing who - that doesn’t matter. What matters is how we approach every matchday and the 95 minutes.”
Blackpool are the visitors to Spotland this Saturday and Beech is expecting a difficult encounter against the Seasiders.
“We meet Blackpool who have just fallen into the bottom four and they’ll be coming to Rochdale wanting a response to their defeat to Colchester.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re ready and understand that Blackpool are coming here fighting for their lives. They’re getting in the boxing ring and they’ll be punching because they don’t want to get relegated.
“We’ve got to be strong, we’ve got to be ready and our preparation for the game will set that up.”
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.