Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup tie against Doncaster Rovers, as well as looking ahead to the weekend’s encounter at the Pirelli Stadium against Burton Albion.
Dale exited the League Cup despite a spirited display against the Championship side and Hill says he has taken many positives from the match.
He told Dale Player: “It was a big test for the players and the squad as a whole. As I’ve said before, I’m trying to eliminate fatigue injuries and there was a good balance to the team, there is a good balance to the squad and performance levels were very good, especially as we grew into the game.
“There were some very good performances which is good because it is positive competition for places. There was a great response from the players who played, there was a great response from the players who were substitutes, as well as from those who were left out of the squad completely.”
“At the minute I’m really pleased with the ambiance of the squad and where it is,” added Hill. “We’ve got a full house with respect to fitness, there’s competition for places, but it is positive and it is being re-affirmed by the players who aren’t playing – you can see what they’re trying to do on the training pitch. The two games have reflected two very good high standard performances and encouragement from me to make sure we’re all successful. I’m really pleased, but it is only early days. My real assessment and value of how successful pre-season has been will be first week of September.”
Dale head to the Pirelli Stadium to face Burton Albion this Saturday, a team who made the play-offs last season. With games against Hartlepool and Doncaster already gone and Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle and Oxford United still to come during the month of August, Hill is aware of the test that each team will provide, but says there should be no fear.
“You look at who we are playing and I would imagine that every team has got the capability of challenging for at least a play-off play-off place, but we’ve got no fear of the opposition who are playing. The league table shouldn’t reflect fear. We should be respectful of the opposition, but we are playing a team for 90 minutes, twice in a season, and we’ve got to try and make the best of out that opportunity and get as many points as we possibly can without looking at the league table."
He continued: “Burton had a great result during the week and they came back well against Cheltenham at the weekend which shows they’ve got spirit. We’re a team in the making and we’ll challenge sternly at the weekend. I would imagine that it is going to be a very good game, very competitive game and it will be very keen.”
You can listen to the full interview on Dale Player now.