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Keith Hill Looks Ahead To Dale's FA Cup First Round Tie

4 November 2016

Manager Keith Hill looks ahead to Sunday’s FA Cup first round tie against Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium…

“The aim is to win games, which ever competition you’re playing in, regardless of the opposition,” said Hill.

“Even if we were playing Arsenal in the third, fourth or fifth round, then it would be a game we would want to win. That’s no different whether it’s Maidstone, Arsenal or Manchester United.

“Every cup run has got to start somewhere. Maidstone are already on the journey and we’re starting the journey this weekend, and we’re hoping to be successful.”

Dale have an artificial surface to contend with at the Gallagher Stadium but Hill says it’s something the players will just have to deal with. 

“One or two of the players aren’t overly impressed or keen about playing on it and I can understand why to a certain degree, but it’s something we have to deal with as a team and as individual players.

"We’re going there in good form, we’re going there in good spirits and we’re going there with a will to win. 

“Maidstone are an ex-football league team who fell on hard times but they’re reviving themselves, and we're expecting a tough match. I think they’ve done a marvellous job in recreating and establishing themselves. They’ve got a great home support but I do believe an artificial pitch gives the home side a slight advantage, regardless of who they are playing against."

Rochdale have had fantastic success in the FA Cup in recent years, and Hill has re-called some of his favourite memories. 

“Rotherham away in round two [in December 2013] stands out for me. I thought it was absolutely superb how we turned the game on its head, because for the first 20 minutes it looked as though the game was going to get beyond us. We hadn’t quite turned up, if you like, but we went on to turn the game on its head to win 2-1.

“I thought the celebrations at the end were superb, and that gave us the magic of the FA Cup which continued well into the Leeds United game. The Leeds game was superb and that continued into a very difficult opponent in Sheffield Wednesday. That was probably a game too big for us with respect to the opposition being better than us.”

The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.

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