Manager Keith Hill admits he’s happy with the progress that’s being made, as Dale get set to head into a busy period of fixtures.
“I think we’re working towards being a very, very good team again in League One,” he said.
“A few things have got to align, which is what you always hope for as manager - you’ve got to stay clear of injury, you’re hoping that performance levels improve and that the players’ education improves on the training pitch from the experience that they’ve got, but I do believe that in the next part of the season/ next season, that we’re good enough to really challenge in League One again, and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m looking forward to the cup competitions that we’re in as well. The Checkatrade Trophy over the last two seasons has given me an unbelievable opportunity to develop young players, educate them on the training pitch and then put them into the deep end, if you like, while trying to win games. It’s easy to develop while you’re winning, so the Checkatrade Trophy has been really good for us.
“There are a lot more Youth Team players who are training with us and gaining experience and then playing in the Checkatrade Trophy. We’re trying to expose them to the realities of league football and they’ll make the transition eventually, like Dan Adshead has done and Aaron Morley will do. They’ve got to make sure that they’re pushing the likes of Callum Camps and Ollie Rathbone all the way.
“I believe we’re getting somewhere towards the right type of age group starting eleven that I want, but we’ve got some great experience for those younger players to lean on. Every club needs experienced players and we’ve got them. We’ve got good leaders in the changing rooms who are prepared to help with the education of the young players, so I’m reasonably happy with how the football club is developing and what we’re doing to be successful. It’s continual success but how do you keep measuring it? The measurement for me isn’t whether we get in the top six or we get promoted, it’s staying in League One and trying to progressively a squad of players that can compete at the top end of League One.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.