Ollie Rathbone reflects on Dale’s win over Lincoln City and says the victory gives everyone a lot of confidence heading into the last 11 remaining fixtures.
Speaking to iFollow Dale after Saturday’s game at the LNER Stadium, he commented: “I’m really proud of us, and I’m proud of the team, the staff and everyone associated with the football club. I thought we were brilliant today - really honest, but also really skilful. We had loads of chances and could have scored more goals, which is the only disappointing thing. But, to a man, everyone was amazing.
“They [Lincoln] are a really good team. They are one of the best teams we played earlier in the season and I don’t think they had much at all. The goal they scored was a very good goal by a very good player. I think we were really good value for money for the win today.”
Saturday was the 24-year-old’s first game back in the side, having missed Dale’s last three fixtures through suspension following his red card card against Burton Albion. The midfielder netted a deserved opener late in the first half, striking beyond Alex Palmer from the edge of the area.
“I was really disappointed with myself about what happened a fortnight ago. I didn’t really feel like ‘oh, I have to prove myself today’, because I’ve been here so long, but I’m really glad I can come back and help the team because I felt like I had let them down.
“For my goal, the ball came out to me on the edge of the box and, whilst I’ve obviously not been playing in the last few games, I’ve done loads of work on the training pitch and loads of work on finishing from the edge of the box, so I’m glad to see that paying off.
“One had come to me earlier on. That was on my right and I remember the ball charging at me so I hit that one first time and I think it got deflected for a corner. I remember it coming to me again, and I had that in my head, so I faked it, put it onto my left and hit it low and hard.”
Both Rathbone and Stephen Humphrys, who scored what proved to be the winner in the second half, went, along with the rest of the players, to celebrate with Manager Brian Barry-Murphy and his staff. He says it was important for the side to do that.
“This is my fifth season with the club and when I came, the three main members of staff - Bri, Lee [Riley] and Kev [Gibbins], were all there. They were already at the club so I’ve known them for years and watched them get promoted into the positions that they are in now. They are amazing people and very talented at their jobs but they are also just great guys who treat us with respect and want what’s best for us. As a team, everything we do, we do for them because they treat us so well and always stick by us. They never throw us under the bus. They’re a really good group to work for.”
Dale are currently in the bottom four, just two points from safety, but Rathbone says the players believe they can get out of the relegation zone and retain the club’s League One status.
“Everyone knows that we’re on a really tough run, but we fully believe that we’re still in this league. We can still compete. There aren’t many teams who have really dominated us, so I fully believe and the whole team believes that we can get out of it. I think today was the first step in that and we played really well.
“When we played Bristol Rovers and got the win, it was in the midst of a run of a few poor results and then we didn’t carry on from that, but I don’t think that performance was as good as this, so I think this is definitely a big boost of confidence. We definitely needed it, especially with not being scoring many goals recently, but I thought all over the pitch we were brilliant, so it gives everyone a lot of confidence.”
Watch Ollie’s interview in full on iFollow Dale.