Rochdale return to action at the Crown Oil Arena on Tuesday evening, hosting Lincoln City in the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy.
The visitors, who won promotion to League Two at the end of last season, currently sit sixth in the division, having had an impressive start to life back in the EFL.
Manager Keith Hill is expecting a difficult game against the Red Imps.
“Lincoln have done brilliantly under Danny and Nicky Cowley and they are a club on the up,” said Hill.
“They’re a relatively big club within the footballing pyramid, and if you’re looking at League One and League Two success, then they’re right up there.
“They’ve fallen on hard times but they’ve been revived by a great, learning management team. They’re fresh, vibrant and have no fear, but they have a definite plan. Some young managers when they get into the game are very off the cuff but these two are planned and they’re being very successful.
“Lincoln’s FA Cup exploits last season were magnificent. Fair credit to them for orchestrating that run while being in the midst of unbelievable league success and promotion.
“In terms of us, you’ve just got to play one game at a time. It’s a difficult fixture so we’re just mindful of the opposition that we’re playing against. We’ll pay them due respect and hopefully we’ll be successful against Lincoln.”
Rochdale topped Northern Group C and beat Doncaster Rovers in the last round to progress to this stage of the competition. The winners of Tuesday night’s tie will go through to the quarter-finals.
Hill is pleased that the competition has provided him with the opportunity to give Dan Adshead game time.
“There’s a plan with respect to nurturing players and it [the Checkatrade Trophy] has given me that opportunity to nurture him to the point where the senior players respect and accept that he’s due to play. He played on Saturday as a result of the hard-work that he has put in during those games and we’ve been very successful with Dan playing.
“You remember those times even with Aaron Morley last season. The players love it because they know that the young players are ready to play and they know how to protect, look after and guide, and those are special moments, not just for the player, but also for the players, me and the management as well.”