The Gaffer on retaining players, releasing players, Matty Gillam and end of season rumours…
Manager Keith Hill announced his retained/ released on Wednesday, with Conrad Logan, Matty Lund, Donal McDermott, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Joe Rafferty all offered new deals.
Hill admits it’ll be difficult to keep a hold of the likes of Mendez-Laing and Lund.
“The majority of players that we’ve retained are currently under contract and we’ve made offers to players who are out contract.
“I want to retain these players, there’s no question about that. That’s why I’ve offered them deals, and it takes us collectively into next season.
“I’ve no doubt that one or two players will turn us down and I expect the two big fish, with respect to our supporters who will be keen on knowing the whereabouts of Matty Lund and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, in my opinion, will leave the football club.
“I want them to stay and we’re doing everything we can as a football club to retain the services of those two players but financially, at this moment in time, we’re in a restricted position on offering those two players the type of deals that they’ll be getting offered elsewhere. It’s just not feasible and we don’t want to break ourselves financially.
“We’ve been in this situation before and we’ve found another way. It happens on a regular basis and you can’t panic as a manager or as a supporter, because there is an alternative way.”
Johny Diba and David Owusu were the only two players not to be offered new contracts. Speaking on the departure of the duo, Hill hopes they can use the experience gained during their time at Rochdale Football Club to go and carve out a career elsewhere.
“In the short space of time that I’ve known David, he’s got something that should be more than enough to see him on his way in his footballing journey.
“He hasn’t progressed as well as I had expected him to and saw him do during the early stages of his time at the club
“With respect to Johny Diba, I believe I have done the best thing for him, with him now having to go and find a different way to be successful.
“He’s a talented goalkeeper and it would have been wrong for me to keep him, because we haven’t got to the stages of where I expected him to be. He has to come out of the comfort blanket of Rochdale Football Club and I’m sure he’ll find a marvellous career as a goalkeeper.”
Second year scholar Matty Gillam was offered has been offered his first professional contract and Hill says the hard-work for him starts here.
“It’s up to him to accept the terms of the deal and I hope he does.
“He’s in a good place and hopefully we can develop him to be another product of the Academy and the scholarship scheme.
“He’s got a lot of work to do, mentally and technically, but if he scratches up on those, then we should have a very, very good uncut diamond.”
Hill believes there will be other players in the squad that will attract interest from clubs, but warns against rumours and speculation at this time of the season.
“There will be one or two players who will be sought after from other football clubs and I’m expecting a professional response from those players.
"There are a lot of rumours flying around and there always is. At this time of season, any rumours or any talk of transfers are just speculation and bit of skulduggery in trying to pinch players for nothing.
“We’ve done a lot of hard-work to develop these players and develop the core nucleus of players to take into next season and nobody will be taking players from this football club for minimal amounts of money.
"That’s whether it’s an experience player or a player that we’re developing to become an experience player.”
Watch the full 11 minute interview on Dale PlayerHD.