Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on the week as his side gets set to face AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.
On last weekend’s defeat at home to Dagenham and Redbridge, he told Dale Player: “If I had looked at the Dagenham game in its entirety and we hadn’t created chances and we hadn’t dominated possession then I would be worried and I would start considering maybe changing things, but consistently over the course of the season we have been very good at creating opportunities. The game against Dagenham could easily have gone in the same direction as the Plymouth game if we had scored early.
“Fair play to Wayne Burnett and his team because after the goal it looked as though they were the only team that were likely to score again. We have to be better at certain things that we do because we shouldn’t be losing that type of game. But again we’re talking about young players who are in the educational process of making those mistakes. It’s really important that they learn from those mistakes instead of me being dictatorial and hitting them with a stick, rather than feeding them with a carrot.”
Dale were also in action on Tuesday afternoon as a young side, with the exception of experienced player/coach Brian Barry-Murphy, faced Oldham Athletic in the Manchester Senior Cup. Hill was pleased with what he saw on display at Chapel Road.
“I enjoyed the game and I enjoyed the way that the players tried to play.
“Brian Barry-Murphy played at centre-half and he was leading the young players on the pitch. You had Bastien out there, Callum Camps who I thought was excellent, George Porter got 90 minutes under his belt, Joe Raff played, Shaquille [Antoine Clarke] as well, so I was really pleased. I am really, really pleased as we head into the last 18 games of the season and it’s up to myself and it’s up to people like Ian Henderson, Michael Rose and Peter Cavanagh to really, really lead these players in what is a new situation for a lot of them.”
He continued: We’ve just got to support the players, myself included, and not put too much pressure on them. We’re a young squad, with the likes of Jamie Allen, the Callum Camps’ and Oliver Lancashire’s of this world, and the likes of Joe Rafferty, Rhys Bennett and Matty Done, who has been playing in an unfamiliar position. We’ve just got to make sure that we encourage them and not expect too much, and we will be successful.”
The squad set off for London on Friday morning ahead of the weekend’s Sky Bet League Two fixture against AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow, and Hill is looking forward to the game.
“I respect any opposition," said Hill. "There’s certain ways that we want to play and we’ll stick to our principles. I can’t and won’t change the group of players that we’ve got. We’ll consistently keep trying to win as many games as we possibly can. Like I pointed out last week, over the 46 games we’ve played since I’ve been back at the club we’ve got 72 points, which would get us into the play-offs. I think that would be some type of success for this Football Club, after having only achieved that three times in the history of the football club, so we’re aiming for at least that, but I do believe that there’s till one place up for grabs in the automatic promotion pack.”
The full interview is on Dale Player.