Updated: Tuesday, 7th April 2020 @ 8:10am

Up for the challenge: Defiant Keith Hill backing Rochdale players to upset league-leaders Gillingham

Up for the challenge: Defiant Keith Hill backing Rochdale players to upset league-leaders Gillingham

By Michael Kelleher

Keith Hill is backing his Rochdale players to turn around a poor recent run of results, ahead of the visit of league leaders Gillingham to Spotland.

The Dale boss – who has overseen just two wins in ten since taking over – is looking for a statement victory in the first of three consecutive home games.

Despite losing to Bristol Rovers last time out, Hill was pleased with the performance and has called on Dale fans to get behind the team.

“I’m very happy with the progress that the players are making," said Hill. 

"It’s not evident in the results but we shouldn’t panic because there are a lot of good contributions that I’m seeing which will turn in our favour results wise. 

“The performance on Saturday was as good as we’ve had since I’ve been back at the football club so I can see the progress. 

“We expect everybody to be 100 percent behind us and in support because the end goal is going to be successful and that’s what we want.”

The Gills, who are four points clear at the top of the league with a game in hand, have lost just once on their travels all season.

Hill knows overcoming Martin Allen’s in-form side will be a tough task for his players but insists this is a game his players can win.

“There’s a reason they are top of the league,” he said.

“They’re being managed well, they’ve got a collective spirit and effort, they’re very functional and they get results so they’ve got everything right. 

“They’re the most successful team in the league at this moment in time and they deserve to be top of the tree.

“It is going to be a difficult fixture but it is one we’re up for.”

Full-back Rhys Bennett joins Terry Gornell and Reece Gray on the sidelines after suffering a suspected season-ending knee injury against Bristol Rovers.

However midfielder Ritchie Jones is back in contention after returning to training following a knee injury.

Image courtesy of TexacoUKFC, via YouTube, with thanks

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