Defender Jim McNulty has spoken to iFollow ahead of Dale’s Emirates FA Cup third round trip to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
The famous competition, and Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy tie against Lincoln City, gives Dale a two-game break from league action, and McNulty is hoping success in the cups can translate to league form.
“It has to be perceived that way by the players,” said McNulty.
“Strange little stimuluses like, we’ll changes the balls this week in training.
“It might sound daft but just seeing a new set of Nike balls out there on the training pitch – Campsy might think that he’s going to stick one of them in the top corner, or some of the other lads might think that they’re going to play some lovely passes with these.
“It’s a refresher and they help, so hopefully it can be the stimulus that can help us, in what can be the bread and better of the league.”
Dale have had huge success in the FA Cup over recent years, having made the fourth round in three of the last four seasons, and the defender says the squad have a great chance of emulating that this season.
“Historically, or even during my three years at the club, the club has always done well in the FA Cup and has reached the third round regularly.
“It’s a huge chance to go and win. We had a tough game against them last week, where we didn’t turn up and got punished, but we have beaten them twice this season as well. It’s a great chance to get into the fourth round.”
Despite the recent league defeats, McNulty says that there is still an upbeat mood amongst the squad, and is insistent it is up to the players to perform when they enter the pitch.
“Emotion always plays a part in the week, depending on what just happened at the weekend, and it’s hard to shift, but the Gaffer is very good naturally at lifting spirits.
“We just need to show more quality on a matchday – that’s quality in terms of defending, quality in terms of concentration, our quality in the final third and our quality in keeping the ball.
“But the boys and staff are doing everything, and togetherness is key.
“The staff are working as hard as they always have. I know people like to say that we’re working even harder when we’re in these tough times, but we’re not, we’re working as hard as we always have done.
“They’re doing as much homework and they’re giving us as much information as they always have for us to go and win games. It’s over to us when we cross the line.”
You can watch the full interview with McNulty on iFollow.