Manager Keith Hill has praised the fighting qualities of his players ahead of Saturday’s game against Portsmouth at the Crown Oil Arena.
Rochdale picked up maximum points over Easter, with Dale now having lost just once in their last eight league outings.
“On Tuesday against Bury, you saw two teams who are fighting in similar positions, but who played with different attitudes, and that’s what I want to get across to my players and our supporters,” said Hill.
“Attitude reflects leadership – like in Remember the Titans, which is a great film – and my players have had a good attitude all season, regardless of whether they’ve won, drawn or lost games.
“We will continue to fight, which is what I think the fans want, and that’s where I’m asking for that unity for the players to be supported by the fans through thick and thin. It has been a bit thin this season, but hopefully we’ve got enough games to put it right.
“Without me writing our campaign off, you’ve got to accept that we might still end up getting relegated, but that’s no slight on this football club, this group of players or me, because we’re trying everything we possibly can and at no point have we given up.
“But that [the battle against relegation] is just economics and the way the footballing world is. Whether we were fighting for a top six/ seven finish like we were last season, I was always mindful of this type of situation and thinking to myself that this could be the season that we’re fighting relegation. We’ve stumbled upon it this season but we’re fighting and that’s what makes me proud of this group of players and the football club, because we’re willing to fight against some superior financial teams in this league.”
He continued: “Our previous results [over the last eight games] are in the past now but it’s a good reminder of what we’re capable of doing. It’s also a reminder of what we have to do and we can’t rest on our laurels.
“We’ve given ourselves a lot of work to do, and it’s about continually keeping a balanced account of things and making sure that we make the most of the last eight games. They’re big games for us, but individually they are also big games. We’ve just got to play the opposition, not where they are in the league table. We’ve got to give them [the oppoents] as much respect as we possibly can, but also trust ourselves. At this moment in time, we’re doing a lot of good things.
“There are going to be a lot of ups and downs over the last eight games, but what we’ve got to do is retain a balanced view and not emotionally react. That’s what I’m trying to do with the players and the football club, and what will be, will be. What we won’t do is rest on laurels or stop working as hard as we have been doing.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.