IT IS quite often said that the burden of captaincy can adversely affect a player's performance.
But in the case of Efe Sodje, quite the reverse has happened.
I will admit I began to criticise him pre- Christmas.
But since being given the captain's armband, he has galvanised the players into a focused and committed unit now capable of automatic promotion.
Macclesfield, it has to be said, were without doubt the worst side I have seen at the McAlpine for a long time.
The brightness of their shirts far outweighed the brightness of their play.
However, these sort of sides have always proved the proverbial banana skin for the Terriers, so it was refreshing to see them do what they are now proving themselves capable of and brushing teams like Macclesfield aside.
Pawel Abbott has been a shrewd capture after the loss of Jon Stead. Although different in stature to Steady, he is a defender's nightmare, always putting them under pressure.
And as he has already proved he has the knack of scoring goals at vital times.
His strike just after half-time on Saturday gave Town the breathing space they needed and they totally dominated the game from then on.
By and large most supporters have full confidence in Jacko and Taff to get things right after our sticky patch before Christmas.
They have been fully justified in giving the young players from the Academy their chance. Yet again on Saturday it was good to see John McAliskey given a debut and his goal was the icing on the cake of a job well done.
I am not sure if it is the euphoria of a big win, but I even have to mention the referee (Graham Laws), whose display was one of the better ones we have witnessed this season.
Unfortunately the linesman in front of the Riverside in the second half did nothing to help him with his Stevie Wonder impressions over offsides.
Let's have a big turnout for Rochdale and more of the same fayre!
Town's man of the match? Definitely Sodje!