There must be no fear of failure for Rochdale AFC, according to manager Keith Hill after his side moved into the playoff places with a 2-1 win over Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Goals from Rhys Bennett and Jack O’Connell secured the victory in dreadful conditions at Spotland, after on-loan goalkeeper Jamie Jones saved a first-half penalty from James Hayter.
Rochdale are now sixth in League One with a game in hand on their closest rivals, and Hill is determined to not let his players be affected by the expectation of promotion that is surrounding the club.
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Hill said: “Our players have got to embrace the position we are in and if we fail, we take failure on in the face.
“You can’t fear failure. You can’t fear the steps you’ve got to take to become a better person, a more successful person and a more successful team as well.
“I know what it’s like financially for some of the teams behind us, and it’s an embarrassment that they are so far behind us in the league, because I know what they’re spending.
“We’re outstretching them and that is what gives me a massive sense of pride.
“I don’t want to take the whole footballing world on, but English football sometimes stinks.”
Hayter notched a consolation for the visitors after first Bennett and then O’Connell scrambled in goals for the home side, but Rochdale were able to hold on for all three points.
O’Connell was making his 100th appearance for Dale, and has since been recalled to his parent club Brentford after the Championship side activated a re-call clause in his contract.
Saturday’s win gives the Rochdale a much-needed boost after a sobering 3-0 defeat to neighbours Oldham Athletic in midweek, in a game where Hill was upset by the actions of some of the Oldham staff and supporters.
“It’s a very welcome three points, and that is reward for the supporters and the players for the humiliation that was stressed upon us on Tuesday night by certain sections of the Oldham staff,” he said.
“Whether you win or whether you lose, you’ve got to have a dignity about you.
“I’m not feeling injustice about the result but there was a heavy dose of salt rubbed into the wounds by a lot of people who represent Oldham and I don’t like that.
“I would like to just reiterate to the supporters that we are currently four points above Oldham and we still have a game in hand.”
Four first team players were injured in that encounter, with midfielder Jamie Allen ruled out of the remainder of the season with a head injury.
Friday night sees Rochdale travel to Preston to take on Simon Grayson’s second-placed side, before mid-table Port Vale are the visitors to Spotland the following Monday.
Main image courtesy of Official Rochdale FC via YouTube, with thanks.