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Hill: Make It Competitive

18 July 2014

Manager Keith Hill reflects on Tuesday night’s pre-season defeat to FC Halifax Town, as well as looking ahead to Saturday’s home friendly against Wigan Athletic, in his latest interview.

Speaking to Dale Player, Hill delivered an honest assessment about the performance at the Shay.

“It was brilliant, absolutely superb, but for all the wrong reasons. We really exposed the players to their vulnerabilities and went through every extremity, but it’s something I wanted to do. 

“The way we conceded the goals was atrocious – I think my mother could have defended better from set pieces. In two games now we’ve conceded three goals from set plays and it just comes down to individual responsibility. 

“It was an uncomfortable ride. Do I regret doing it? No, absolutely not – it was the best thing that could have happened to us. I do believe it has given us a little bit of a jog on. We’re too nice at the minute, but we’ve got to be nasty. It’s nice to be nice but I like nasty winners and we’ve got to get that nasty streak back.”

He continued: “Halifax’s remit on the night was to win the game, mine was totally different. My remit was to expose the players and I did that to great effect.

“I’m not stupid, I’m not mad, I’ve got a plan and the plan will continue to develop over pre-season and into League One.

“I’ve got 46 league games and those are the games that I won’t be experimenting too much in. Everybody has got to trust me and they’ve got to bear with me – the players will.”

Championship side Wigan Athletic are the visitors to Spotland on Saturday for the first of three back-to-back home friendlies for Dale.

Hill is expecting another stern test.

“They’ve [Wigan] got a very, very strong squad in depth and I’m sure that we’ll we see a very good footballing side in action. We have to, first and foremost, make it competitive, and if we do, it will be a stern test. It’s a question of sticking to our plan.

“It’s all preparation. For me it’s like we’re sparring against an unknown opposition at this moment in time. It’s very difficult to structure the defending against the opposition when I don’t get a team sheet, or we haven’t previously watched them, so it’s very difficult to designate markers and sometimes you can be left a little bit vulnerable in that respect.”

The full interview is on Dale Player.

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