Head of Academy Coaching Rick Ashcroft is looking forward to Wednesday evening’s FA Youth Cup first round tie against Altrincham at the J.Davidson Stadium.
“You treat every fixture similarly but the difference in this competition for the lads is that you’re playing at first team stadiums on first team pitches. It does bring a little bit of a different feel, there’s no doubt about that, so it is something that players and staff all look forward to and we hope to progress in it.
“[Playing against a relatively unfamiliar side to us] poses its own problems and they’ll be out to try and win the game.
“Any opponent is a tough opponent if you don’t pay them respect. You have to pay every opponent respect but you also have to put the onus on your own ideas and your DNA to help us be successful.”
Dale head into the match on the back of Saturday’s 2-0 win over Burnley in the Lancashire Youth Cup.
Ashcroft says that has boosted confidence ahead of the tie.
“We’re going into a really, really interesting period. We started with the cup game against Burnley on Saturday and that bodes well for confidence. Performance levels wise they did really well – we weathered a 10/15 minute period in the second half quite well.
“It was an indicator for the type of performance levels that we want from individuals. There were some outstanding performances on Saturday and the collective performance was as good as it has been over a full period of a game.
Previously, we’ve had good halves and not so good halves and have been a little bit inconsistent, so it bodes well for confidence and it’s good all round.
“It’s really going to be interesting looking back in another three or four weeks’ time when we’ve played the FA Youth Cup and hopefully if we do progress there will be another fixture in that before the end of the month. We then play the likes of Wigan, Blackpool, Bury and Shrewsbury who are all doing relatively well this season. We’ve got a really good but tough period of fixtures coming up and I’m really
looking forward to it.”
The full interview is available to view on Dale PlayerHD.