Ian Dawes says he was as happy as anyone after Tranmere conjured a late winner against Hartlepool on Saturday.

But the Rovers assistant manager now believes the players can now back that up by going to Rochdale this weekend and securing a first away win of the season.

In the unexpected absence of Micky Mellon, two-time interim boss Dawes took over press duties ahead of the trip to the Crown Oil Arena on Saturday, where Rovers will face a Rochdale team currently also sat on eight points with an identical league record.

Dawes said: "I don't think that the lads were lacking in confidence but it's always nice to get that win. I think a few new faces in the building as well has given everyone a lift.

"Winning games in the 88th minute - it has an even better feeling about it when you come off the pitch and the leading into the next days. It was great to win and have a free week to get on the training ground."

The current trajectory of Rochdale has been in stark contrast to that of Hartlepool, with the former just relegated from League One and the latter gaining promotion back to League Two via the National League.

Dawes added: "When you get relegated you're used to losing games. Hartlepool have just been promoted and used to winning games and are in that winning mentality.

"Those games are never easy, you've only got to look at Harrogate last season and even this season. They started really well and have got that momentum. So (last) Saturday's game, it wasn't an easy. To come away with three points was massive for us."

The arrival of five new faces during the final day of the transfer window has significantly bolstered Mellon's options across the pitch, with Sunderland loanee Josh Hawkes making an immediate impression as a second half substitute against the Pools, providing the assist for Tom Davies' late winner.

When pressed on whether Hawkes was pushing hard for a starting place at Rochdale, Dawes said: "I think he is yes, along with others. He's trained well again this week. He is a talented player and he's got a real spring in his step. I think Saturday's impact that he had when he came on was massive.

"He helped to raise the tempo and the quality and was delighted with his assist. He's in contention with a few others, so we'll see."

Dawes is no stranger to facing the press both pre and post match after stepping up to look after first team affairs not once but twice last season, following the dismissals of, first, Mike Jackson and then Keith Hill, as an out-of-form Rovers hobbled into the League Two play-offs.

Having built rapport with the fans and enjoying a string of wins after the departure of Jackson, Dawes' stock rose quickly with Tranmere supporters, so it was a popular decision when his services were retained following the appointment of Mellon.

When quizzed on what the main differences were between working with the Scot and his predecessor, Dawes said: "All managers have different strengths and different attributes.

"I've known Micky for a long time, since my time at Shrewsbury. He's great, the way he speaks to the players and manages the group is outstanding.

"I always think that what he's really go at - the players that aren't involved, he makes sure that they understand and know that they're involved in the whole squad and important part of what we're doing.

"I think the players respond to that.

"The environment we've got this season is really positive and that's down to him. We're hopeful of doing some good things this season.

Tranmere have no fresh injury worries ahead of the trip to Rochdale but will check on the fitness of Lee O'Connor after he played for Ireland U21s on Tuesday evening.