Rochdale welcome Blackpool to the Crown Oil Arena on Boxing Day, in the first of back-to-back home games over the Christmas period.
The Seasiders are currently eighth in the Sky Bet League One table, five points outside the play-offs, and Manager Keith Hill is expecting a tough test.
“Every game in this division is tough," said Hill.
“I love Terry Mac [Blackpool Manager Terry McPhillips] – I know him really well. I think he’s done really well since he took over from Gary Bowyer and he has taken the reigns really well.
“Blackpool are a good side and we know they’re honest, so it’ll be a tough game. But it will also be an enthusiastic and enjoyable game from my perspective in terms of trying to plan to win the game and making sure we respect the opponents. We’ll enjoy Christmas Day and we’ll enjoy the training.”
Saturday’s game against Southend United marked the midway point in the season and Hill admits the side came very close to hitting his 23 game target, as Dale get prepared to go into the second half of the campaign.
“We got three points on Saturday which meant we finished just marginally short of the target for the [I set for the] first 23 games of the season so we’re not a long way away from where I want us to be. We have a desire and ambition and a real hunger to be more successful than we have been, but it’s like any journey, you’re going to experience failures and that’s where you learn and guide yourself to successes.”
Dale are currently in a run of four games in nine days but Hill says it’s the fans who make the biggest sacrifices.
“The 111 supporters who supported us at Southend on Saturday make bigger sacrifices than we do. It’s a small sacrifice for us to not drink or party over Christmas while we’re trying to represent our values in winning a football match. The biggest people at a football club who make the most sacrifices are the supporters.”