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Hill Encouraged By Dale's Start To The Season

14 August 2015

Manager Keith Hill isn’t getting carried away by Dale’s start to the season, but admits that he’s encouraged by what has been on show.

His side followed up the opening day 2-0 win over Peterborough United by progressing to the second round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night following a penalty shoot-out victory over Coventry City.

Speaking to Dale Player, Hill commented: “I’m encouraged, yeah. 

“During most of my time at the Football Club I have been encouraged by the players’ application, mentality, and obviously the performances on the pitch.

"You’ve got to look at performances – are you’re doing the right things, both defensively and offensively, and if you are, regardless of the result, they will start turning into three point favour.

"I’m pleased – I’m pleased with the discipline of the players and the commitment from the players as well, as we go into Saturday’s fixture and then Tuesday again.”

Dale will face Championship side Hull City in the second round of the Capital One Cup in just over a week’s time, meaning Dale have eight competitive fixtures during the month, including this week’s Lancashire Senior Cup tie v Bury.

“We’re pleased to be in the next round, we’re pleased to be playing against an elite Championship side away from home at a great venue,” said Hill as he gave his thoughts on Dale’s next cup opponents.

“It’s a difficult first week of the season. Pre-season is preparation, both fitness and tactical, but you just don’t know what to expect from a fatigue point of view because you can’t replicate it, even although you try your best to.

“I see that a lot teams have changed, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, you’ll only really know if you’ve got fatigue injuries or you win those games, or if you see the benefits later on in the season. I’m not too sure, but we decided to go with a similar side. 

"The cup competitions can be a valuable source of income for the Football Club, but it’s now proving to be a very difficult August with respect to fixtures. 

"We’ve got eight fixtures in August, but I believe in the squad, if we need to change then we will change, but we’re fit and we’re ready. Mentally, it has been an exhausting week, as you can imagine, but hopefully we’ll freshen up for the game against Blackpool.”

Rochdale make the trip to Bloomfield Road on Saturday for the first away game of the season and Hill is expecting a tough game.

“Blackpool are a good side and I think Neil [McDonald] is doing an excellent job under stressful circumstances at times. 

“And I don’t mean from a management to squad perspective, I mean dealing with the supporters and not knowing what to expect on the first home game of the season. They’ve got this three point suspension hanging over their head and the possibility of playing behind closed doors.

“We want to see the game fulfilled and we want to see a good game of football, which I’m sure it will be - we want the best team to have won the football match. That’s all we’re really concerned about. We don’t want anything to have a negative impact on that game, from it starting to finishing, and throughout the course of 90 minutes.”

The full interview is available to view on Dale Player.

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