Manager Keith Hill has told Dale PlayerHD that he’s looking for a response from his players following the disappointment of Saturday’s defeat at Shrewsbury.
Thursday night’s local derby at Gigg Lane is the first Sky Bet League One fixture of the Easter weekend and the Gaffer wants to make that advantage count.
Rochdale go into the game knowing a win would cut the gap on the on the top six to just three points, while Bury find themselves teetering just a point above the relegation zone ahead of the fixture.
“We’re fighting to get within three points of the play-offs places before anyone else in the division kicks a ball,” – said Hill.
“I’m very passionate about what it is we’re trying to achieve and I want a response on behalf of the supporters, especially in our local derby.
“We’re looking forward to going there. There’s no pressure on us but there’s a pressure to perform and that will always be there whether you’re fighting relegation, fighting for promotion or for a top 10 finish.
“We still want 70 points or more, which is still achievable and we won’t stop fighting for it. I’m looking for a response against Bury.
“The game should be hectic, it should be chaotic and there should be spontaneous skill.
“It will be full of passion, drive and ambition, and when you look at the two teams, we’re fighting for different reasons.
“We’re fighting to close the gap on the top six before everyone else plays and they’re fighting to be in front of the rest of the relegation candidates as they head into the weekend.
“There should be an ambition from our players to fight on behalf of the supporters, and I don’t mean fisticuffs, I mean showing courage in the heat of a football match, but also having mental composure to deliver a good skilled reflection of what we’re trying to do at Rochdale Football Club.”
Thursday night’s match is the first of Dale’s four remaining fixtures and while Hill may make changes, he says he won’t jeopardise picking up points.
“These games matter because we want to beat 69 points (2015-16), 68 points (2010-11) and the 63 points that we achieved during the first season back in League One (2014-15), so there are a lot of things we want to achieve.
“Looking at the final four games, I’ve got an opportunity to play some of the players who haven’t been playing on a regular basis, but only as long as they show the key attributes that I want for this football club.
“I want to create a momentum going into next season in the final four games. There are players who I believe have been patient throughout the course of the season who’ll be with me next season who deserve opportunities, and that’s probably one or two of the younger players.
“There are three points at stake and there’s still the possibility of closing the gap on the top six, so if I was to experiment too much and results elsewhere went in our favour, I think it would be a bad reflection on me if we hadn’t turned up and done the business.”
Watch the full interview on Dale PlayerHD.