The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

WHETHER or not Rochdale can snatch a last-gasp play-off place, man­ager Keith Hill reck­ons it’s been a mag­nif­i­cent sea­son.

Un­der­dogs Dale go into this af­ter­noon’s clash against fifth­placed Brad­ford – who have al­ready booked their end-of-sea­son berth – in eighth place.

It means they have to win to­day and hope the teams di­rectly above them in the ta­ble, Mill­wall and Southend, both drop points to steal into sixth place.

Hill said: “You al­ways have be­lief at the start of the sea­son with the play­ers you re­cruit, but the first moun­tain is 50 points. Ev­ery­thing else is a bonus.

“The re­al­ity is that we’re a small club in League One, but we have worked hard to give our­selves an op­por­tu­nity.

“When you con­sider the teams in and around us, in terms of points gained against pounds spent it’s been a mas­sive suc­cess.

“We are fi­nan­cially pru­dent, we bal­ance the books and we’re not in debt. We have a very good young squad and we are im­prov­ing year in, year out.”

With their play-off place se­cure, Brad­ford may not have the same need to win as Rochdale, though they know a vic­tory could lift them to third or fourth and give them a home sec­ond leg in the play­off semi-fi­nals.

Hill added: “Brad­ford have had a very good sea­son. They are very com­pet­i­tive and their play­ers rep­re­sent their man­ager Stu­art McCall re­ally well. I don’t ex­pect any favours.

“I’ll be ex­pect­ing a very com­pet­i­tive match be­cause they are a very good side.”

As for what’s hap­pen­ing else­where, the for­mer Barns­ley boss won’t be wast­ing too much time think­ing about that.

“We are fo­cused on play­ing Brad­ford,” he added. “We’re not look­ing at the side-show, the what-ifs or maybes. We are just look­ing to give our all against Brad­ford.”

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