Updated: Friday, 5th June 2020 @ 4:07pm

Rochdale's League One promotion dream is running out of steam, says boss Hill

Rochdale's League One promotion dream is running out of steam, says boss Hill

| By Ben Pringle

Keith Hill has spoken of the mental fatigue his players are suffering due to their attritional League One campaign, despite his Rochdale side securing a 1-0 victory over Chesterfield on Saturday.

Dale ended their three-game winless run thanks to Ian Henderson’s second-half header at Spotland Stadium, with the striker moving on to 13 goals this season.

In the light of a scrappy, disjointed match, manager Hill was keen to stress that results are the defining factor at this stage of the season, particularly after Rochdale’s recent dip in form.

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Hill said: “Some of the younger players, and some of the older players, have run out of steam mentally.

"It happens to promoted sides, whether it's in the Premier League or League One. It's very difficult maintaining the standard and you do sometimes get bad performances, individually and as a team.

“The game wasn’t for the connoisseur, but it’s about results. It’s about trying to re-establish confidence and self-belief which has been missing.”

After reaching the dizzy heights of fifth earlier this season, a punishing run of fixtures has seen Rochdale slip down to 13th with their small squad stretched to breaking point.

However, Saturday’s result was a return to winning ways for the Greater Manchester side as they continue to exceed expectations following promotion from League Two last season.

Hill, who is enjoying his second spell at the club, has consistently tried to maintain a sense of perspective throughout the current campaign as his young team attempts to establish itself in the third tier.

“I think we put too much pressure on the players to try and achieve the dream which is getting in to the playoffs,” he said.

“Really, we would need a benefactor to be putting in £2m at least every season for us to maintain any sort of challenge throughout the course of a season in League One.

“But it’s not going to happen and I put too much pressure on myself and these boys to achieve the impossible and we do get so disappointed when we can’t.”

Still just four points outside of the playoff places, Rochdale have further chances to gain ground when fifth-placed Sheffield United are the visitors on Tuesday night, before Keith Hill’s side make the trip to table-topping Bristol City next weekend.

Main image courtesy of Official Rochdale AFC via YouTube, with thanks.