Manager Robbie Stockdale looks ahead to Dale’s Sky Bet League Two fixture against Northampton Town at Sixfields and reflects on his side’s opening three games of the 2021/22 campaign…
“There are going to be no easy rides in this league, but Northampton have started quite well,” said Stockdale.
“We should have more points on the board, without a shadow of a doubt, but we haven’t so I’d take playing poorly and winning a game, that’s for sure.
“It’ll come together, and, like we’ve said before, a little bit of patience might be needed, but at the same time I appreciate that we don’t want to be drifting too far behind the teams that are at the higher end of the table.
“We’ve watched the games back that we’ve played and we analyse and we show the players where we’ve done well and where we can improve. Football is only about one stat and that’s the scoreline, but if you look at the way the games have gone, we’ve played relatively well in all of them. It’s just spells and the goals again the other other night are just really poor to concede. Conceding 15 seconds after equalising can’t happen.
“We’re learning all the time, and I’m learning about the players and they’re learning about me, but I’m sure, hopefully, the rationale is that you can see signs of improvement.”
Conor Grant, Jim McNulty and Aidy White all missed the side’s last two fixture after testing positive for Covid, while George Broadbent was also absent for the midweek game against Forest Green Rovers. The Gaffer has provided an update on those players.
“There’s only Jim McNulty, whose period of isolation finishes on Saturday morning, so he’ll come down and meet the squad at the hotel. He’s not been able to do any training or anything like that, so we’ll have a little look at him, but Jim’s a good character to have around the place anyway.
“The rest of the boys are still unavailable. We’ve been keeping in touch with them - some of them are feeling better with almost no symptoms, but some are still feeling a little bit groggy and under the weather, so we’ll just have to play it by ear when they come back in.”
And he confirmed that Jake Beesley will miss Saturday’s match as he follows concussion protocols.
"Jake will be missing at the weekend as well. He’s fine in himself and he felt fine the day after the game, but the protocols dictate that he has to have a week, so all being well - and we hit all the targets during the protocol process - he’ll be ok for Tuesday night.”
Jeriel Dorsett joined Dale on a season-long loan from Reading on Friday and Stockdale says he hopes to recruit further.
“We’ve put offers in for players this week and I have given them a time frame to get back to me.
“We’ll hopefully have one in today [said Stockdale on Friday morning about Dorsett] and one more over the weekend, so that’ll help.
“If everybody was fit, I’d be quite happy with the standard in the squad, it’s just that we’ve been hit with this issue in the squad. To have five players missing in one week has hurt us, but on the positive side of things, the team played on Tuesday night against a good Forest Green team and I thought we were very good for large periods. We’re not a million miles away but I appreciate that we want to be winning - we’re in the game to win so we need to make sure we start doing that."
Watch the Gaffer’s pre-match interview in full on YouTube.