Ian Henderson has hailed his Boxing Day goal against Blackpool “as special” and says the squad go into Saturday’s game against Bradford City full of confidence.
He told iFollow: “I was with my family down in Norfolk on Christmas Day but had to come away [because of the game on Boxing Day]. It’s hard, but I call it sacrificial behaviour. That’s the type of sacrifices you have to make as a professional footballer and an athlete. You take yourself away from your family during magical moments but that moment at the end of the game made it worthwhile, and that’s special for me.
“We left it right until the end against Blackpool, but fair to them. They played incredibly well considering they were down to ten men for a long period of the game and I just felt that I’d get one chance. I kept on making little diagonal runs within the box and fortunately Bradden Inman has seen me and the rest is history.
“A lot of it comes down to team belief and self-belief. You have to continuously keep on making the same movements and the right movements over and over again. As Alan Shearer once said, he used to make 10 runs to get the ball once, so it’s just a case of constantly making runs, not just for myself, but also for the team. That run was at the right time and on side, thanks to a great weighted pass from Bradden, which allowed me to open up my body and take a couple of touches within the box and just slide it underneath the ‘keeper.”
Both winning goals, against Southend United and Blackpool respectively, came late in the game. The Dale skipper is delighted that the side have taken six points from an available six so far during the busy Christmas fixture schedule and believes the squad has the ability to continue pushing up the table.
“They used to call it Fergie time, didn’t they. You’ve got to keep on going until the final whistle. There are so many goals scored from 85 minutes onwards because people switch off, and as long as you’re switched on, you can capitalise on that. We’re just going to continually keep on working hard.
“We’re going into the second half of the season now and we’ve put ourselves in a really good position. A few wins in a row will start to move us up the table. We’ve done it before in previous seasons, so why can’t we do it again this season? That’s the question I’ll ask myself and the players. We’ve got the ability and the game understanding, it’s now about putting that together with consistent performances to accumulate as many points as we can.
“Two back-to-back to wins over the Christmas period is beautiful. Winning breeds confidence, both individually and as a team. The boys have defended well and the midfielders have run tirelessly and we’ve scored goals, so it has been good couple of games for us, and now we roll into the game on the 29th full of confidence.”
The Boxing Day win over the Seasiders saw Dale reach the 30-point mark in the Sky Bet League One table, nearly three months earlier than they achieved the same points tally last season.
“There were a lot of factors that determined last year, number one being the playing surface. Loss of form, indifferent performances from the team and individuals also played their part. This season has been a lot different, and we got that from the pre-season that we had. We rolled into the season play good football but not winning, and then we were winning but not playing well, but as I said previously, this league is about consistency. If you’re consistent with working incredibly hard – having the tactical understandings to do what you need to do for the duration of the game - then you’ll tend to win more than you’ll lose. The more consistent you can be within it, you’ll move yourself up the table really quickly.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.