Manager Keith Hill looks ahead to Saturday’s League One fixture v Peterborough United at the ABAX Stadium…
He told Dale PlayerHD: “We’ll prepare ourselves as best we can for Peterborough. We know Peterborough and we know what they are capable of doing, and we’re looking forward to the challenges. It’s going to be a difficult encounter but one that we don’t fear.”
With 15 games left to play this season, Hill says it’s important that performances pick up points.
“There was little bit of pressure on us during the first seven games after yielding three points, but during the process of those seven games, we were looking at it and there were only one or two things that we had to alter to get the right results. I think it's the same situation now.
“There’s a lot of encouragement from the performances that we’ve had, and it’s about making sure that we turn those performances into winning football matches again because we’ve got 15 games remaining.
“If we go on a run like we have done on two or three occasions this season of winning football matches, then we’re more than capable of beating anybody. Nobody knows where that’ll take us but our first aim and agenda is always 50-plus points.”
And Hill is searching for a balance to the side while he continues to juggle injuries to key players (Joe Bunney, Matty Lund & Steven Davies).
“Since the turn of the year, I think the injuries have really affected us psychologically in the way that we’re not picking up as many points as we should do. We’ve got to find the right balance over the next 15 games to see where it takes us. There’s a sense of an unknown journey now going into these fixtures.
“We need at least three points to at least secure our League One status then we can start really planning with respect to next season.
“First and foremost, our plan is to secure our status as a League One football club next season, and if do end up with the perfect scenario, then we’ll re-plan. Nothing has been lost or won at this moment in time. This time last year, we had 38 points and were just six points above the relegation drop.
“There was a lot of thinking [at this time last season]. We played a different way, I put Jimmy McNulty at left-back, we brought in Grant Holt and it all worked out superbly well because I had a solid base and I had maverick spontaneous skill playing up front.
“On Saturday, I thought Donal was excellent when he came on, and I’ve got to look at the bigger picture. I don’t want to chase games and end up losing them comfortably. I want to make sure there’s a methodology to the way that we work and I’m looking for improvement.
“I’m looking for improvement from all of the players. That’s from the style of play that we want to win and obviously the smaller detail, because we shouldn’t have lost the game against Bolton and we really shouldn’t have drawn the game against Charlton last weekend, having gone 3-2 up.
“If we’re going to be real contenders this year, and if not this year, next year, then it’s the small details that individuals have to be better at.”
Watch the full interview on Dale PlayerHD.