Rochdale boss Keith Hill says his players will be up for the battle against local rivals Oldham Athletic at Spotland tomorrow.
Tenth-placed Dale will be looking to banish memories of last season’s encounters with The Latics as they lost 3-0 on both occasions.
Local lad Hill knows what the significance of the game better than anyone and said the players’ application will be key come 3pm.
“The players will be up for the task there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“As long as desire is evident the rest will be forgiven. We have a thirst to represent our supporters and the way we do things, that’s what will bring us success.
“We’ve worked so hard to play the likes of Bury, Coventry and Oldham; it’s brilliant for the supporters and we’re looking forward to the game.”
Hill also had a word for his counterpart David Dunn.
“There’s a bit of an age gap!”
“He was an excellent servant to Blackburn Rovers and to football.”
As for how his team are shaping up after a fourth game without a win, Hill was keen to focus on the positives.
“I’ve been encouraged by the response of the players throughout the whole season,” he said.
“We’re in the process of taking care of performances and hopefully they will lead to results.
“We’ve got focus on performances individually and collectively, the clean sheets have given us a big boost.
“We will focus on what we do best with the players we have available and continue to be encouraged by the performances.”
Hill’s side will be claw their way back into the play-off picture with a win against an Oldham side who are battling to avoid a relegation scrap.
Dale will be monitoring the fitness of Calvin Andrew, Ian Henderson and Joe Rafferty, while top-scorer Peter Vincenti is hopeful of a return.
Dunn’s Oldham side, who won only their second game of the campaign last week, welcome Jonathan Burn back from suspension.
Dunn was full of praise for former teammate Hill ahead of this weekend’s clash and knows his side will have to work hard for back-to-back wins.
“I know Keith well. He was at Blackburn when I was a young lad coming through. He’s done a fantastic job there and I’ve got a lot of time for him,” he said.
“It will be a tough game. He always has competitive teams and I’m sure they will want to beat us.”
History favours Dunn’s side as Oldham have won 22 of the past meetings to Rochdale’s 15, while a draw may be the best bet as there have been 16 over the years.
Image courtesy of Official Rochdale FC via YouTube, with thanks.