Rochdale booked their place in the area quarter finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night with a comfortable and deserved win over Port Vale at Vale Park.
A first half goal from Joe Rafferty was enough to separate the two sides on a night where Keith Hill made the maximum number of allowed changes to the starting eleven.
Manager Keith Hill gave his thoughts to Dale Player after the game.
“I took the defeat at Portsmouth quite hard and I blame myself when I look at the team I picked, what I believe in and what I should have done, but sometimes you get carried away with victories. We were in on Sunday and we worked on what we need to do to be successful for the remainder of the season and we got back to it tonight. We’re a pressing side and we’re a passing side and if we do both like we’ve done tonight then we’ll be successful.”
He continued: “I’m just pleased with how the players have responded. I could probably have played Lundy (Matty Lund) tonight, without a doubt I could have played Callum Camps tonight but for him being selected for Northern Ireland and he would have slotted in. I could have played Ashley Eastham – I wanted to but I could only make five changes.
“I’m relatively pleased with the way that the players have been able to slot into the way that we want to play. There are certain player responsibilities that are set in stone and they’ve got to be reflected game in, game out. I don’t think they were on Saturday against Portsmouth, but tonight they were. I think we put on an excellent performance, not just for the Rochdale supporters, but for the Port Vale supporters as well.”
Jamie Allen was handed his first team debut, and Hill recognises the youngster has a talent.
“He’s a baby, but he’s on a different planet. I think the rest of the squad would agree with me that he’s probably got the vision and the awareness of an established elite player. But we’ve just got to be careful because I made mistakes with playing young players before, ie Joe Bunney. I probably shouldn’t have played Joe on Saturday after the magnificent performance he put in against Wycombe. It could have gone wrong for us tonight by playing Jamie, but it hasn’t and he has matured tonight. He’ll be in, he’ll be out and he’ll be playing in the bounce games .
“I’m just happy with everybody. We’ve got good young players but we’ve got experienced players in there who are influential and can have a positive impact."
You can listen to the full post-match interview on Dale Player.