Manager Keith Hill admits he’s encouraged by Tuesday night’s performance against Middlesbrough, as Dale prepare to face Coventry City.
Speaking ahead of the game at the Ricoh Arena, Hill commented: “Up to that [the last 20-minute spell], the performance was still quite competitive. Middlesbrough were pushing for the second goal which they achieved and then they sat off. We made the substitutions which allowed us to attack more, but prior to that, we were very competitive and we didn’t allow the game to be played on Middlesbrough’s terms. They had to force it to be on their terms.
“We had one or two opportunities and I thought we were solid as a team, and I was quite encouraged by that performance. The late hurrah shouldn’t confuse me with my team selection as it can quite often do to a manager. I’ve got to stick to what I believe will get us success against Coventry at the weekend.
“The 20-minute hurrah is more for the supporters to debate but the last 20 minutes, with respect to Middlesbrough, the game was won and they were probably easing off as well.
“Two thirds of what I asked the players to do was achieved, so I’m reasonably happy going into the weekend’s game with the fundamentals to the way I want us to play back in place.”
Saturday’s opposition, the Sky Blues, who promotion back to the division via the play-offs last season, added Connor Chaplin from Portsmouth to their squad this week.
“They’re a big football club, spending big money again recruiting players who were very successful last season,” said Hill.
“Getting Connor Chaplin in is a big coup for Coventry City. I don’t think they’ve been able to spend the type of money they’re spending now in previous seasons in League One or League Two.
“Promotion was superb for them last season and Mark Robins is a very good manager with what he achieves and how he does things. I know he’s introduced a lot of young players into the squad as well.
“They’re a big club, and big clubs, like anything, sooner or later they rise to the top again.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.