Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on the season so far, as Rochdale prepare to take on Shrewsbury Town in the final game of 2016.
The Shrews are the visitors to Crown Oil Arena on Friday night for Dale's second home match of the week, following Monday's win over Chesterfield.
Dale's Boxing Day fixture marked the half way point in the season, with side securing three points to make it 39 points accumulated from the first 23 games of the campaign.
Hill is pleased with what has been achieved so far.
“We have done well in the first half of the season, yielding 39 points from the 23 games. That’s decent for a club of our stature and size, and we’re looking to kick on. We’ve got 12 victories under our belt – we had eight at this time last year after 23 games, so we’re doing really well. I’m really pleased as we go into the second part of the season.
“We’ve done really well in the last two seasons and we want to do well again, but we know that any turn in attitude and application can see us losing football matches. That’s one thing we don’t want to see on the training pitch or on a matchday. If we were to get beaten, we should be getting beaten by a better side or a luckier side.
“The way we train is also very important. We can have bad days but we can’t have any bad effort days, and we don’t get too many bad effort days from this group of players or any group of players that I’ve worked with. That’s what gives a me a great stable thought process with respect to taking this group of players forward.
Since Dale secured their first win of the season in September, the side has been consistently consistent, and Hill says that is down to the attitude and application of the players.
“The confidence is high amongst the players and the work rate and the energy is exceptional.
“Their attitude to the application is superb as well, and that’s what is bringing the performances together. There’s an attitude of ‘we’re going to work hard today’.
“I’m seeing a lot more maturity from a lot of players that I have been working with for a long time, and when you add Steven Davies, Keith Keane and Conrad Logan to that, there’s that little bit of know-how.
“I’m really, really pleased with the type of maturity that some of those players [that I have been working with for a long time] are showing, and the new players as well if you look at Oliver Rathbone. I’m sure there’s still more to come from, not just from Oliver, but other players as well.
“There has been a flexibility meaning I’ve got good permutations of players to play all over the pitch - we’ve got a really good balance to the squad. The lads are working exceptionally hard and I think that’s where we are showing the consistency. We’ve got one or two experienced players who have the same excitement as the young players.”
Shrewsbury Town are the visitors to the Crown Oil Arena on Friday evening and Hill says he’s looking forward to the fixture.
“We’re always confident in the way that we do things. We have our beliefs and our processes that we go through like most managers and teams do and we’ll stick to those philosophies. We’re confident without being arrogant – there’s no arrogance in this group of players, just hard work and endeavour.”
The visitors currently find themselves in the bottom four but Hill isn’t underestimating the Shrews.
“Sometimes you can’t see the woods for the trees but I think the path is now clear for a productive second half of the season for them with the manager that they’ve got and the players they have at their disposal. I’ve watched them with great intent with respect to us playing them and they’re showing good signs of a team who will probably get out of trouble. “
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.