Manager Robbie Stockdale looks ahead to Dale’s Sky Bet League Two fixture away at Exeter City…
The players trained on the Crown Oil Arena pitch on Thursday, before departing for Devon on Friday morning.
“It was good to train on our ground,” said the gaffer.
“Our training facilities aren’t great at this time of year and that has sort of led to an injury for Jeriel which is unfortunate because he has been very good for us. It’s just a change of environment for our day to day work and the players have trained very well.
“It’s a really long journey to Exeter. We’re going to break it up again so we’re going to train at West Brom which is around half way down - it means the bus driver can have his 45 minutes - so it all ties in quite well and it just makes sure that we can break the journey up because it is a long one for us.”
The Grecians are on the hunt for automatic promotion and currently occupy second spot in the division, four points ahead of fourth placed Northampton Town.
“It’ll obviously be a really difficult game. They’re very high in the league and pushing for automatic promotion so it’s going to be a challenge for us and one that we’ll meet head on. We’re in relatively decent form at home and we need to replicate that away from home. We go there with no fear, respectful of course, but if we play our own game we’ll give them problems.”
Easter Monday’s win over Hartlepool United saw Dale mathematically safe but Stockdale says that will have no bearing on the weekend’s game and that the players should go out there and play for pride.
“I don’t see that view that any game is a freebie, it never was in my mindset so I don’t want the players to think that.
“You step onto the pitch with personal pride first and foremost, and then a pride to do the best for the football club and the supporters. That’s the message to the players.
“Everyone has always got something to play for, whether it’s a new contract, whether it’s to try and impress another team, because let’s be clear, some of our players will attract interest from other clubs, or just to build up momentum going into next season.
“The game on Monday was one of mixed emotions for me. I don’t want to feel like I felt at half-time, I want to feel like I felt at full-time every time the players play, and that should be their motivation as well.”
The gaffer confirmed that Danny Cashman are Liam Kelly will be both unavailable for the fixture, in addition to Jeriel Dorsett and George Broadbent who are now out for the season.
“From Monday, Cashman won’t be available. Liam Kelly (thigh) was unavailable on Monday - he’s had a scan. It’s not too bad but he’ll missing again for the weekend.
“We’ve obviously got the long-termers who are out. Jeriel Dorsett (ankle) is out for the season, unfortunately, and Georg Broadbent (hamstring) is also out for the season, so we’ve added to that the Colemans, the Campbells and the Balls. We’ve got what we’ve got but we’ll still be competitive.”
Stockdale had considered recalling midfielder Ethan Brierley from his loan spell at Spennymoor Town but says that he will remain there for at least the time being.
“It’s a balancing act with that one. We sent Ethan out to get some valuable experience and he is.
“We’re constantly in touch with the guys at Spennymoor and I’ve managed to watch a game or two.
“If we recall him for our fixtures, it would make it difficult for him to go back. He’s got the potential to play seven games if they get through to the play-off final, so we’ll judge it game by game.
“I know everyone is eager to see Ethan play for us and he will, I’ve got no doubt about that. But I’ve just got to make sure that I do the right thing for him, and if he’s got the possibility to play in some really big games and aid his development, that might be something that’s more beneficial at this moment in time, but that could change.”
Watch the full interview on the club’s YouTube channel.