Rochdale got their pre-season friendly schedule off to a winning start on Tuesday night with a 5-0 victory over Northwich Victoria and Manager Keith Hill is pleased with what was on show at Valley Road.
He told Dale Player: “It was a brilliant work out and they showed great application. There wasn’t any ‘what are we playing on this pitch for’ sort of attitude. It was like we’re here, we’re going to take on the opposition, we’re going to respect them but we’re going to run them into the ground.
“Our pressing philosophy from back to front and front to back was incredible and we maintained it for a large period of that game with the same starting eleven, so I was really pleased with the progress that the players have made coming into that first game.
“Look at Joe Bunney, Scott Hogan, even Brian Barry Murphy who was the experienced head in the centre of the midfield trying to glue it all together. The two centre halves played a different game to what they were used to because we’re trying to condense the pitch but they left a lot of space in behind them and it is something they’re going to have to adjust to which they will do because they’re quick learners. Joel’s attitude playing at right back was superb – it was strange for him and he made one or two mistakes but his head didn’t drop. I’m encouraged by the all players’ attitude and application and I want that to remain.”
Dale make the trip to face newly promoted Conference Premier side Halifax Town on Saturday and Hill is looking for more of the same.
“For me, Saturday is about meeting the demands of what I expect and what I’m trying to create. If we do that and we get beat I’ll still be reasonably happy, but if we don’t meet those demands, I won’t be happy even if we win, so it’s about meeting the demands in preparation for the season. Everything I asked of the players on Tuesday night they did – they were running the line and regardless of the opposition you have to be better than them physically and we were the other night.”
You can hear more from Hill on Dale Player now.