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Interviews

We've Got Ten Opportunities - Hill

29 March 2018

Keith Hill says Dale have ten opportunities in their battle to avoid relegation from Sky Bet League One.

The first of the remaining ten fixtures is against league leaders Shrewsbury Town on Good Friday, and Hill has called for unity to make the most of those opportunities.

“I would like everybody to be united in our push to avoid relegation,” said Hill.

“We have ten opportunities and it’s not going to happen in the first opportunity, it’s going to happen over a period of ten opportunities if we’re going to retain our League One status, and that starts against Shrewsbury.

“Momentum is about a feel-good factor, feeling good about yourselves and supporting one another. I think that gathers momentum.

“It can be orchestrated by a support group as well – the fans. They can inject belief into the players.

“I think we all witnessed the support on Saturday at Scunthorpe, and I think we need to take that mental attitude towards supporting this group of players.

“This isn’t me having a go at the supporters, this is me praying that they maintain belief and inject belief into the group of players that they can stand up to this challenge, but relax in the challenge as well.

“It’s important that we have that family, all inclusive, us against the world mentality, and it’s important that we regain that over these next ten games.”

Hill’s target of being five points from safety with ten games remaining was achieved with Saturday’s point away to Scunthorpe United, and now he wants his side to focus on catching those teams above the safety line.

“[We’ve got to] Take every game as it comes,” said Hill.

“But we’ve got to be looking at the teams that are mid-table and saying ‘this is where we need to be, what are we going to do and what do we have to do to catch up with one or two of the teams that are mid-table’.

“We’re not looking at Oldham, MK Dons, Northampton. We’ve got to look beyond that and say ‘this is achievable with the games that we’ve got' and lets aim for it starting with Shrewsbury."

It was a rare midweek without a fixture for Dale – the first since the end of January – and a welcome one for the squad.

Hill now wants the preparations from the week to translate to Good Friday’s game.

“Preparations are a piece of cake! It’s the easiest thing you can do during the week.

“All that preparation has got to manifest itself into a performance on a matchday. It’s been a welcome break not playing in midweek.

“Now it’s for the lights, camera, action. Let’s perform now and see how good we are at really acting out what we’ve practiced during the week.

“We’ve certainly been training with good spirit and hopefully with momentum off the back of what was a good performance against Scunthorpe.

“We’ve got ten games to go and we’re really looking forward to them.”

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