Manager Keith Hill looks ahead to Dale’s League One fixture against Coventry City at the Crown Oil Arena…
“I look forward to every home game and every game that we play in and every game that I represent Rochdale Football Club and these players in. This is our main event, if you like, of the week,” said Hill.
“We’ve had a great week, but the main event is performing and getting the result. The result is really important because we’re running into the last 15 games with 34 points on the board.
“We have to be better than 34 points going into the last 15 games of the season to give ourselves an opportunity of retaining our League One status. We’re going to be in a battle for the remainder of the season, and the battle starts against Coventry on Saturday.”
Hill’s side head into the game on the back of last weekend’s win over Walsall, which saw Dale climb to 18th in the table and close the gap on the Saddlers to just a point.
“It was a big game against Walsall at the weekend. I think their mindset now, and I’m only looking at it as if I was their manager, is that they are in relegation trouble now, and if they had beaten us then they’d be out of relegation trouble.
“So, the swing of one game makes a lot of difference sometimes, and that swing psychologically can make a massive difference on a group of players and the football club as well as the supporters associated with that football club, so who knows what’s going to happen.
And with just eight points separating Dale and 10th placed Fleetwood Town, Hill believes the league has really tightened up as we head into the final stages of the season.
“The top four or five teams in the division are home and hosed, if you like, and I believe that everybody else from 10th down could be involved quite comfortably in a relegation fight.
“It’s very tight and you’re always in it. In previous seasons we’ve always been in it, whether we’ve been sat 10th or 6th, we’ve always been in a relegation fight.
“So, we know how to handle ourselves and it’s important that we see these games as opportunities but with no panic.
“You’ve got to make sure that you don’t become a victim of comfortability, and I believe there are some teams that believe they are sitting comfortably. We saw it last year and the year before where a bad run of form can see you slip and good run of form can see you build momentum.
“We’re in a situation where we know what we’ve got to do.”