Manager Keith Hill was in a relaxed and upbeat mood when he spoke to www.rochdaleafc.co.uk ahead of Dale’s final game of the season.
“I’m ready and the players are ready,” said Hill
“We’ve got to retain composure and commitment, and have intelligent energy throughout the game. We’ve got to be calculated in everything that we do during those processes.
“It has been a good week – we’ve done a lot of work on the training pitch, as we always do, to prepare the players for the weekend. It has been important for the players reassure themselves that they are capable of achieving what we need to achieve.
“Everybody was floored after last weekend’s defeat to Oxford, but we’ve been through the healing process. We’ve had a bit of fun and we’ve made sure that we’ve picked the players up while realising what we’ve done has been good.
“We’re within a point of safety going into the last game of the season, something I would have taken 15 games go having been cut 12 points adrift. Yes, there have been a few disappointments, but we’ve gotten over them quickly and we’ve moved into the next game. I didn’t want this week to be a long week – I wanted the processes to be good, deliberate and focused, and to make sure the players remind themselves of how good they are individually and as a team.”
Depending on Oldham Athletic’s result, a point could be enough to seal League One survival for Dale, but Hill says he wants his players to secure a victory.
“I think three points is a must. It’s going to be difficult against a good Charlton Athletic side who are play-off contenders, but it’s something we must do.
“We’ve got to find that winning performance from the players, both individually and collectively. They’ve got to support each other psychologically – physically they’re fit enough –and they’ve got to go for it.
“From a psychological point of view, it’s going to be difficult, so they’re going to have to be brave and they have to accept the responsibility of the position that we’re in. They’re going to have to ride a lot of different waves and momentum changes, so it’s going to be a heavy psychological 90 minutes, but the players are up to it.”
Ian Henderson returns for the match at the Crown Oil Arena, having served a four-match ban, and the Gaffer is pleased to welcome the Dale skipper back for the final game of the season.
“It’s a great boost for everyone, including the players. They depend on Ian – he’s an example to the way that we do things and I’m hoping that his performance can carry us to the three points that we need.”
Saturday’s opponents, the Addicks, currently occupy the last play-off place, three points ahead of seventh placed Plymouth Argyle with a better goal difference.
“They’re a good side. They were a good side under Karl Robinson but they’ve taken it up a level since Lee Bowyer took over, and I think they’ve done absolutely superb. They’re playing in the spirit that he played in as a player. They’re a massive club in League One and have very good players.”
INTERVIEW: There’s nearly half an hour worth of pre-match content from the Gaffer on iFollow. Watch HERE.