PDP Lead Coach Chris Brown is expecting a tough test against Wigan Athletic on Saturday in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
Dale are currently second in the league, eight points behind Wigan but with two games in hand.
“It’s a big game and an important game for us,” said Brown.
“They’re first and we’re second, and we need to catch them in the table, so hopefully we get a good performance tomorrow.
“Last time we played them they beat us 2-0, and probably deservedly beat us because we weren’t at the races.
“Since then, individually and collectively, we’ve got better and improved. We’ve played some really good football, so it will be an interesting but really difficult game.
“We’re always looking to better ourselves from the next game and improve. Each day is a new day.
“In training we’ve got much better and put in some hard yards, so our performances have improved.”
Wigan lead the way at the top of the league having won their last 11 matches, including the win against Dale in September, and Brown knows his players will have to be at their best to get a result.
“They’re all good players, who are physically fit and strong, and who play some good football.
“They rotate really well on the pitch, and they’re a good outfit. They’ve got some good players, and they’re always around the top three places come the end of the season.
“It’s always a good test to see where our lads are at, and there’s the added pressure of it being first vs second.
“We’re focussing on ourselves, and where we can improve from our last game against Bury, in which we did play really well.”
The match takes place at Bower Fold. Kick-off is 11am.