After two consecutive cup games – Emirates FA Cup and the Checkatrade Trophy – Rochdale will return to league action on Saturday 8th December, away at AFC Wimbledon.
The game will mark the side’s 21st fixture of the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One season, and Manager Keith Hill says Dale are still on track to meet his mid-season target.
“If I look at the footprint of what we’re trying to create this season, then we’re trying to be better than last season and, at this point in the season, we are,” said Hill.
“We’ve got a run of games coming up that I need key players fit and available for. We’ve just come off the back of a heavy schedule and we’re going into another. It indicates to me that we have to run with key personnel, regardless of how strong I thought the squad was. It’s not as strong as the training ground performances have led me to believe.
“It’s important that we do the right things over the next month or so of football, because we don’t want to be in a position where we are running into March, like we were last season.
“We’ve worked it out and between our 20th game and the beginning of March last season, we only won two league games. We’re running into a fixture congestion where we have to get results, because I don’t want to be doing what we did last season with the great escape. What we did do last season, however, was that we managed to patch it together to get those results that were necessary.
“We’re still on target for what I wanted to achieve after 23 games with three games to go, and it’s important that we do everything we can within the next three league games to achieve that target. I believe we’ve got the right personnel to do it, but again, I have to be able to rely on a squad of players that need to do more when they’re given their opportunities.
“I don’t feel let down from Tuesday night at Oxford. It brought me clarity about the situation we find ourselves in and what we need to do. It’s reassured me about what I need to do at home and away from home, with respect to personnel who need to play in certain games.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow FREEVIEW.