Manager Keith Hill admits that he is “immensely proud” of his players following their performance in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup first round tie against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.
It was an even contested affair against the Championship outfit, and despite proving a match for Rovers, Dale exited the competition after the home-side netted a late winner - Bongani Khumalo’s 89th minute header being the only goal of the game.
After a positive showing at the Keepmoat, Hill is remaining upbeat. He told Dale Player:
“I’m disappointed to lose but like I said the other day, I can almost see without looking because we’re planning and I’m immensely proud of the way that we took on a Championship side. They’ve got good calibre players, but we more than matched them. After more than matching them and sustaining quite a bit of pressure, probably from set plays where ultimately the game was decided, I thought we performed superbly.
“I’m encouraged with the development in the squad and being able to make those changes without it having any lingering effects on our performance. I’m disappointed for the players, but this is about an endurance, this is about developing the squad and the Football Club, and I can see that.
“I think the supporters can see it and they are warming to the way we’re doing things and we were very, very unfortunate to lose that game. I don’t like using the word lose, but I believe we have won with respect to gaining more confidence after playing against the likes of Richie Wellens, [James] Coppinger, [David] Cotterill, [Mark] Duffy and [Rob] Jones.
“I think it is aiding our development when you see the likes of Andrew Tutte coming into the side and performing like that, Lund again, and the back four that we selected - I’m just really pleased with our development.
“It’s only early and it’s a results driven business, but it won’t de-rail us because I can see the bigger picture and so can the players. There’s a unity, there’s a trust with respect to myself and the coaching staff about selecting the sides and it will only develop and get stronger.”
You can listen to the full interview on Dale Player now.