Chris Beech calls on Team RochdaleTuesday night at Gresty Road saw Rochdale secure their first win of the season with a superb performance. Hat-trick hero Matt Done was the toast of the town as he helped rattle in five goals against Crewe Alexandra, a feat that saw him collect his first ever match ball and one that also put him in the striker position for the first time too.
Assistant manager Chris Beech reflects on the game against the Railwaymen one that certainly put Hill’s Dale side firmly back on track.
“The players performed really well on Tuesday,” said Beech. “ We look to dominate the ball in all our games and we did that very well in League Two but in League One it’s a completely different kettle of fish.
“We are good on the ball in the middle of the park but it is about dealing with things in either box and it was something we haven’t been able to do in the first couple of games. We looked at it and looked at why and what we could do.
“We like dynamic movement and quick penetration with or without the ball. Perception of fitness, of football fitness has to be stretched when they become one of our players. We look to maximise their potential and perhaps go beyond what they would consider 100% fitness.
“Calvin Andrew has come to the club and he’s doing well and catching up with that. He is committed to what we are trying to do.
“George has great speed and he’s strong physically which are good attributes to have in the squad, but we felt on Tuesday it was time to look at a slight change. It was a risk because as a manager everything you do is scrutinised and it’s on a managers shoulders where he has to carry those decisions.
“Looking back at the Peterborough game we had chances and some good efforts and I believe we should have got something from the game. Against Preston I thought we dominated the game, so much so that some of Preston’s senior professionals began to give up. However, we let the boxer get up off the canvas floor with a goal in the 42nd minute and goals are big psychological advantages.”
Goals indeed change games and with Dale seemingly struggling in that quarter the Dale managerial duo took a punt at a change that saw Rochdale name a side without any recognised strikers in the starting eleven.
Dale manager Keith Hill said after the game he thought people would question his sanity but it wasn’t just a case of picking a side for the Crewe game it was a well thought out plan, a masterstroke not madness as Beech explains.
“ I rang Matty Done and asked if he had ever played centre forward even as a kid and he hadn’t. I asked him the question why can’t you play there because represents many things we would look for when recruiting a striker.
“He got his head round the idea and Keith and myself talked about it for a while and decided that we would give it a go. He performed really well in that position and so did the rest of the players.
“We knew there would be rumblings in the crowd with no recognised striker, We have six midfield players…….Do we want to win the game? But Keith put the plan into practice and the boys represented that brilliantly.”
The ‘new’ striker in the ranks hasn’t put Hill and Co. off bringing any one in, but as Beechy explains it’s not as simple as everyone might think.
“Like many teams we are always looking to recruit but we have to find the right player. One who fits the Rochdale salary and funds. We do have irons in fires and a lot of the clubs that house these players have been spoken too and conversation has been good. However, when we get to the point when we think something is happening it gets stretched by another week. We have a good squad of players who have worked very hard to be where we are today but we know a couple of new faces in the ranks would help that.”
Promotion favourites Bristol City arrive at Spotland this Saturday and Beech admits we will need everything Team Rochdale can throw at them if we are to get anything from the game.
“We have a big game against Bristol City and it represents another challenge and we will need all the help we can get from the supporters. We have to stick together whatever happens, if it isn’t quite right on the day then it is really important to support the players. As management we have to do that, forgive mistakes because we have to maximise their energy, confidence and play and fans are in a great position to help us do that.
“This is no cry out to our supporters, it is a natural fact ….we are Rochdale, so let’s not make it hard for ourselves. We have a League One challenge in front of us so let’s all, you the fans, Keith, me, the staff and players have a real go.”
There’s more from Chris on Dale Player right now.