‘Grind it out’: Rochdale boss Hill’s pre-Wigan League One survival message

Rochdale boss Keith Hill says his players need to start grinding out results if they are to retain their League One status, starting with Wigan Athletic at home tomorrow.

The Sky Sports cameras will be at Spotland to broadcast the first meeting league meeting between the sides since March 1997 when Rochdale ran out 3-1 winners.

Dale’s run of six league games without a win sees Hill’s side sit a lowly 14th in the League One ladder but he insists the club’s focus remains establishing themselves in the third tier.

“Our goal is to establish ourselves as a League One club,” he said.

“We’re making really good progress with the football club and sometimes there is a second season syndrome but I believe that we’re not surprising the league this season like we were last season.

“We haven’t been great at grinding out points but we showed great character to come back from two goals behind at Southend.”

After going a month without a league win, Hill wants greater consistency from his team and has a points target in mind for Christmas.

“It’s important that we reach certain targets.

“After 23 games we want a minimum of 30 points, of course we want more than that but realistically that’s a reasonable target to secure our League One status.

“We want to maintain a challenge as high up the league as we can, last time in League One we went through a difficult run as we are now and we managed to grind out some results.”

Hill was highly complementary of this weekend’s opposition but hopes for an improved performance from Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at home to Morecambe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

“The games are coming thick and fast, on Tuesday we didn’t reach the standards we expected and I felt pretty let down but hopefully it won’t be too much of an impact going into the Wigan game.

“They’ll be the top two, there’s no question in my mind.

“They can recruit the best and they can retain the best, the chairman says he has the best budget in the league and they are being well managed.”

Dale will be without Matty Lund, Callum Camps, Ian Henderson and Reuben Noble-Lazarus for the clash, while Jamie Allen may be in line for a return from a dead leg.

Meanwhile, Gary Caldwell’s high-flying Wigan side, who are nine unbeaten in the league, will be without top-scorer Will Grigg but loanee Alex Revell may make his debut.

Image courtesy of Official Rochdale AFC via YouTube, with thanks.

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