Rochdale’s preparations for the 2013/14 season continue on Saturday with the first home friendly of the pre-season schedule.
Dale have already had three outings, recording wins over Northwich Victoria, FC Halifax Town and Stalybridge Celtic, but welcome Championship side Blackburn Rovers to Spotland this weekend for the first game on home soil.
Manager Keith Hill says he’s reasonably happy with how pre-season has gone so far but is keen to see how the players fare against Championship opposition.
He told Dale Player: “I’m relatively pleased with everything, but pre-season can lead you into a false sense of security because there’s no pressure.
“They are great preparation games and what we have found so far is that the players are getting their fitness, they’re getting their sharpness, they’re getting an understanding of the tactics that we’re trying to employ and that is what it is all about. There will be mistakes but as a Manager I’ve got to be very forgiving, especially as a Manager who wants to develop players, and we have to allow players to make mistakes. They have to be comfortable in the knowledge that they will be forgiven and if they are trying to do the right thing that’s the course of action that we have to take to give them the experience."
He continued: "There’s a lot of surprises in football – negative surprises as well as positive ones. The pleasant surprises are the Jamie Allen’s of this world, but we haven’t any negative surprises yet. I don’t know what is going to happen on Saturday against Blackburn Rovers – I know what team I’m going to pick, but it will interesting to see us maybe get beat against Blackburn or Macclesfield to see how we respond during those games and as result of the impact of the negative result or display.
"I’m trying to manage the team, pick a few surprises, see if any of the players are compatible with the team ethic and if they’re not then let’s get that out of the way now in pre-season. Team selection might hurt one or two players who think they might be playing but I want to see what sort of response I get from them.
"I want a team ethic and that includes everybody – substitutes, the players who will be sat in the stand and the triallists that we have currently at the Football Club."
You can hear more from Manager Keith Hill on Dale Player now.