AFTER a quiet celebration with his family to reflect on the Leeds win, Phil Parkinson woke up to business as usual.
The City chief had savoured the moment of a special occasion. But come the cold light of day, it was Rochdale and not Leeds occupying his thoughts.
The DVD player he switched on showed highlights of Dale’s most recent performances not the emotional derby rollercoaster from Valley Parade.
With the quick change-over from playing on Wednesday night, Parkinson could not dwell on the previous evening's excitement.
He said: “It was a fantastic night but the talk of that has got to stop quickly. We can’t afford to enjoy it too much because we have to focus on a very important game with Rochdale.
“Everyone was in again yesterday. The lads who played had a recovery session in the pool while the others were training.
“Some will be starting tomorrow and we have to make sure they have got the right fitness levels.”
Keith Hill led Dale to promotion last season and they have picked up four points since losing the opening two games.
“Rochdale’s last two results have been great,” added Parkinson. “They went to Crewe and won and according to our reports they played really well against Bristol City.
“We know that they play good football and they are quite a young team with a lot of energy in the side. We’ve got to make sure we can match that.”
City have injury concerns over Aaron Mclean, Jason Kennedy and Gary Liddle.
Kennedy made 200 appearances for Dale and returned there on loan for the second half of last season. If fit, it will be a very different player who confronts them at Spotland.
The midfielder has been City’s most improved performer so far and Parkinson said: “Jason has got to be pleased with where he is.
“He’s gone from when he came back pre-season to the standing he has in the squad now.
“Rochdale will obviously be a game where he wants to be involved but we’ll have to check on him.”
Mclean suffered a spasm in his hamstring early in Wednesday’s game and Liddle took a whack in the challenge from Luke Murphy which landed the Leeds midfielder the first of his two yellow cards.
Parkinson was not too impressed by the ferocity of some of the Leeds tackling and got involved in a brief spat with striker Billy Sharp.
“There were a couple I thought were bordering on reckless. Their lad (Murphy) deserved to go – both were really poor challenges.
“Billy Sharp also had that little tussle with Rozza (Rory McArdle) on the floor and I felt he went a little bit over the top.”
Mason Bennett and Jordan Pickford are clear to return after both were ineligible for the Capital One Cup. Neither will be allowed to feature in the next round because their parent clubs are still involved in the competition.
Dale boss Hill believes the Lancashire club cannot compete on an equal footing in League One until they own Spotland. Like City, they currently pay rent to the owners of their ground – a stadium company made up of Rochdale Council and the Rugby Football League.
He said: “The finances in League One have become better since we were last in the division, whereas ours have stayed the same.”