Ryan Delaney wants to repay the faith shown in him by Keith Hill, after signing a contract extension with the club.
The defender joined in January on a two-and-a-half year deal, but extended that deal by a further year to the summer of 2021.
“It’s nice to know that I’ve done quite well,” said Delaney. “The manager has shown faith in me, so hopefully now I can prove it and give something back to him.
“Over the last six months I think the Gaffer and the coaching staff have helped me to improve a lot. Hopefully now in the following years I can keep improving.”
He made 22 appearances as Dale reached the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup, taking Tottenham Hotspur to a replay at Wembley Stadium, and avoiding relegation from League One on the final day of the season.
“There have been so many memories, and highs and lows, from since I joined in January. Playing against Millwall and Spurs was crazy.
“Getting the opportunity to play against players of a higher standard and then to stay out of the relegation zone on the final day was fantastic.
“Coming into the last couple of weeks everyone was 100% ready to rock. We knew we had a hard task ahead and we got through it, and hopefully now we’ve pushed on since then and we can go on and have a good season.”
It's the Irishman’s first pre-season with the club, and whilst he is expecting a tough few weeks before the start of August, he is glad to be back into the swing of things.
“It’s brilliant to get back in amongst the lads. We have a great bunch of lads here and we’re just looking to push on this year.
“It’s good [pre-season]. It’s challenging, but it’s what you want. Come the season you want to be 100% ready to go, so hopefully we can keep going now in the coming weeks.
“It’s not great for the feet, but we’ve got to grind it out and hopefully in the next couple of weeks it might settle down a bit!”
Delaney played alongside summer recruit Stephen Dooley at Cork City last year, as they lifted the Irish League and Cup double.
“Dooley’s a great lad. He’s a very quick and direct winger, and hopefully now he can push on here and give the fans something to shout about.
“We had a little chat before he joined to talk about how nice a club it is, and how easy it was for me to settle in. Hopefully it’s the same for him.”
You can watch the full interview with Delaney on iFollow. Click HERE to subscribe and receive exclusive content.