Kilshaw eyes long-term future at Rochdale

After earning promotion to the Championship Rochdale head coach Alan Kilshaw says there are already plans already to discuss extending his contract beyond next season.

The Hornets pulled off one of the results of the season but inflicting the first defeat on Toulouse in the league all year and grabbing the automatic promotion place.

Kilshaw is in his first year as head coach of Rochdale.

“I still have another year left but we are planning to sit down with the chairman this week to try and extend my contract, in order to provide some stability for the club as well as myself,” he told Love Rugby League.

The Hornets came from behind to beat Toulouse in France in the second half.

“I thought it was a really good performance because it was a tough game,” Kilshaw said.

“Before the match we talked about not panicking if we went down early on and if we stuck with them they would start becoming anxious.

“We knew that from when they came to our place. They cracked when we put them under pressure.”

The French side were 16-0 up at one point and so for Rochdale to pull it back and then come away with the victory made it even more special, according to Kilshaw.

“There is a strong never say die attitude in our team. We have worked all year to try and develop a mental toughness and it really came in handy at the weekend because it was a hostile atmosphere.

“There were some tough calls which went against us but there was plenty of belief in the side that we could go out and earn a positive result.”

Rochdale is a club which doesn’t have the biggest budget and Kilshaw believes earning promotion, by beating a club with one of the largest budgets in the division, is a massive accomplishment.

“To have gone toe-to-toe against a full-time outfit and come out the other side is a huge achievement,” he said.

“Hopefully we can be a beacon for clubs with small budgets.

“Everyone is looking forward to next season, lining up against the likes of Bradford.

“Then there are the local rivalries against Oldham and Swinton.

“The club has such history and it’s good to be back where we belong.”

When asked about where the achievement ranked during his time as a coach, Kilshaw admitted it is one of, if not the proudest, moment of his career.

“It is certainly up there if not the highest,” he said.

“We were written off by everyone and it was only us who believed.

“It is not just one of the greatest achievements in my coaching career, it is a real big moment since I started playing back at the age of 11.”

With promotion comes more central funding, but Kilshaw admits they still won’t be paying over the odds for a player in 2017.

“We will still be running a tight ship. We won’t have the huge amounts other teams will have.

“Gates will improve with the local rivalries and match day sponsorship will also increase.

“The main goal will be to retain our Championship status and build some solid foundations so the club can continue on a steady progression.”

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