Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on Saturday’s goalless draw with York City, as well as looking ahead to Saturday’s fixture at Mansfield Town’s One Call Stadium, in his latest interview.
“I was really pleased with the performance last week,” Hill told Dale Player. “There were no nerves, there was no sense of anxiousness, either from the players or the supporters. We played against a very resolute defensive side in York, and although we put them under severe scrutiny, we couldn’t make that breakthrough, and when we did, their goalkeeper was obviously in good form.”
He continued: “We’ve got to make sure that we take care of business in the next five games. I’ve heard a lot this week about how I’ve set out an aim to get six points [from the remaining five games], well that isn’t my aim and will never be our aim. Our aim is to win every game that we play in and I had to clarify that to the players. What I’m trying to suggest is that mathematically that is what we need when you look at all the possible permutations.
“We’ll be quite relaxed about the whole situation and I’ll put my trust in the players. They’ve been committed, exceptionally competitive in every game and on the training pitch as well. There’s a unity amongst the players and I don’t see that changing over the next five games.”
Scott Hogan returned to Dale’s matchday squad last Saturday after recovering from a knee injury, which had kept him sidelined for a month, and Hill admits that having the striker back in contention is a positive.
“It’s a big boost,” said Hill. “It gives you that little bit more sense of belief and it gives the opposition the fear factor. On many occasions this season when Scotty hasn’t been available, the opposition defenders have been relieved, I suppose. We’ve had many defenders ask one or two of our players before team sheets are handed in if Scotty Hogan is fit, so there is that fear factor when Scott is not in our squad, but also when he is in the starting eleven as well.”
Dale were 3-0 winners over the Stags when the sides met at Spotland on Boxing Day, but Hill says that counts for nothing.
“I bear no consideration to the last time we met. I’ve got respect for Mansfield. The got promoted from the Conference and they’ve done exceptionally well. They’ve got exceptionally strong players and they’ll want to see the season out really well.”
You can view the full interview on Dale Player.