Brian Barry-Murphy is excited to return to Sky Bet League One action at Swindon Town on Saturday.
It is over six months since Dale’s last league match following the Coronavirus epidemic, but the games are now coming thick and fast.
“It feels as if it’s been a bit of rush job really, having waited so long and then we play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday,” said the Dale boss.
“I suppose the cup games give us a chance to get back into the routine, and as such we’re very excited for Saturday’s game.
“It [the two cup games] give us a chance to have a good idea of where we’re at physically. I said before the Huddersfield Town game that we were probably a long way behind the other teams in terms of where we were at and the result doesn’t change that.
“We were very fragile after the game and Tuesday night’s game was a difficult one to balance in terms of who played and who didn’t because of the exertions on the Saturday.
“Going towards this weekend, we’re still unsure about certain players’ availability or fitness. Jimmy Ryan is struggling, Matty Lund the same, so we’re really stretched already at a time when it’s well publicised, we haven’t got any numbers as such to deal with that.
“We’re vulnerable but as is always the case, we’re in a very positive state of mind and looking forward to the game.”
New loan signing Yeboah Amankwah was substituted in the second-half of Tuesday night’s EFL Trophy win at Morecambe, but Barry-Murphy is hopeful over his availability.
“Yeboah should be okay. I think it was a major issue with cramp, rather than anything else, which was a big relief to us. We’re still not certain that is the case and it will be a watching brief tomorrow to see how he is.
“In terms of the background of Yeboah, he was injured at the back end of last season before the pandemic struck, so he is very much behind in terms of his fitness as well. He’ll have to be built up gradually as well.”
The Dale boss is aware of critics suggesting his side will face a tough campaign, but that is something that motivates his squad to prove people wrong.
“We’ve seen all the publicity about where we’re expected to finish this season and have worked with our psychology department on perceptions of where we will end up.
“We’ve seen the articles from different people on who will accompany Rochdale into League Two. A lot of people will create that without having any real reason to do it. It’s been there for us and we’ve seen it.
“Is that a motivating factor? It is, because we’ve had it over a period of time, and I suppose the more people write us off, the more we want to prove them wrong. That’s just the nature of the guys that we have here and their individual qualities.
“If you were to look at our Club over the recent history, there has always been a sense of having to prove people wrong to stay where we are or get to where we were before.
“That’s never been more appropriate than this season. We’re not just dreaming up a scenario where everybody is writing us off. To my own advantage, I’ve seen it in print this week.
“We believe that if we get certain additions into our squad pretty quickly, then we will be able to prove those wrong, and we’re certain that we can do that.
“Previously, we have had a very strong belief in the group that we can be successful, and that success could look like any number of things this season, but for us it’s exciting to find out what that can be.”
The full interview with Barry-Murphy is available to watch on iFollow Dale. Click HERE to watch.