Rochdale midfielder Ollie Rathbone

League One: Rochdale romp to another win but are still playing it cool

ROCHDALE insist they are not getting ahead of themselves despite enjoying two 4-0 wins on the trot at the Crown Oil Arena.

Steve Davis came off the bench to score twice against Swindon on Saturday, including a penalty, and the 28-year-old striker repeated the feat against Walsall on Tuesday night.

Former United trainee Ollie Rathbone opened the scoring with his first senior goal and Reuben Noble-Lazarus doubled Dale’s lead before the break. Davies then continued to make the most of Calvin Andrew’s absence, scoring twice in the last 15 minutes to make it six goals in three games and nine for the season.

That helped Keith Hill’s men climb to fifth in League One and maintained Dale’s excellent home record as they’ve now won their last nine at the Crown Oil Arena.

Dale boss Hill played it down, though, saying: “We’ve just got to take tiny steps, one game at a time. I’m just happy with the way that we’re playing. The scoreline reflected the performance. But I don’t get carried away and I don’t expect anyone to. We’re in good form at home, there’s no question about that.”

Rathbone echoed those sentiments despite being overjoyed to score his first Dale goal. After being released by United in the summer, the 20-year-old midfielder was sidelined by injury in pre-season and had to wait till last month to make his Dale debut.

“We’re just taking every game as it comes at the minute,” he said. “We’re on a good run of form and we just want to keep that going.

“The goal was a very special moment. (Assistant manager) Chris Beech has been on at me to get some goals so it was great to get one.

“It’s been difficult because I had a massive setback in pre-season but you’ve just got to work hard, keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully you’ll get the chance.

“It’s a great place to be at the moment. Every day you come in to training and the morale’s really high. It’s been very different here. In Academy football it’s not always results based. Sometimes you can get battered but there are still positives. That’s not an option here, it’s about winning at all costs.

“I’ve learnt so much. I’ve realised there’s a lot more to do off the ball. It’s almost the small things that make a massive difference, like winning the second ball, winning the 50/50’s, that allow you to then regain possession up the pitch.”

Hill said in September: “Ollie joined us this summer from Academy football and he has got to catch up to the way that we do things and the processes that we go through. He’s got good intentions and now he’s back on the training pitch he has got to work them out and put them all in the right place.”

It seems he’s doing just that now. The youngster will be hopeful of keeping his place on Saturday as Dale visit Gillingham, who are 16th after losing 1-0 at Oxford United on Tuesday night.