Manager Keith Hill spoke to Dale Player following Saturday’s 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow.
“It was a difficult task to come down here and manage the game correctly under the conditions,” said Hill. “The pitches aren’t great at this time of the year, even although I do believe that this pitch was a lot better than a lot of pitches at this time of year, so I’m pleased with the way that we managed the game.
“It doesn’t have to be a great spectacle and I thought we withstood the opposition and we nullified their major threat, which is set plays. I think in the first half they only had two set plays and a free-kick from the half way line, so I was really pleased with the way that they managed the side.
“We nearly and probably should have scored in the first half, maybe against the run of play, but it was even stevens. As the game progressed we managed the game better, we got the ball down onto the floor and we moved them about a lot better in the second half. Arguably it could have been more, but it was tremendous from Scotty Hogan.”
Hogan, who was the subject of a bid from League One side Peterborough United during the transfer window, started on the bench against Dagenham and Redbridge last weekend, and Hill explains that it was the right decision following the pressure that the 21-year-old had been under during the month.
“I’ve not rested Scott Hogan at all,” said Hill. “For the last three weeks his mind has been all over the place and it’s a shame really. I saw Scotty Hogan smile for the first time last Saturday before the game because he knew the window had closed. He never wanted to go anywhere and people have actually pulled him for pillar to post trying to orchestrate a move away from the Football Club. All he has ever wanted to do this season, and rightly so, is play for Rochdale Football Club, score goals and be free from any pressure, like the amount of pressure the kid has been under the last month.
"I have witnessed people nearly destroying Scott Hogan and today off the back of what has been an unbelievable week’s training for him, he produced three goals. Let Scotty Hogan be, leave him to me, leave him to his team mates, leave him being happy and he will propel us to somewhere near to the success that we want this season.”
Saturday’s win sees Dale remain in fourth place in the table, a point outside the automatic promotion places, with a game in hand. Rochdale have 17 games left to play and Hill is keen to continue to build on what the team has already achieved this season.
“Our goal now is to continue our success and our development. There’s no pressure on promotion for us, the pressure should be on the money teams of the league and the supposed favourites of the league. We’re not the favourites, we’re a very good side in League Two and if we managed to remain in the play-offs and give ourselves chance of automatic promotion then that will be success in itself.”
The full interview is available on Dale Player.