Ahead of Wednesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy second round tie against Oldham Athletic at the Crown Oil Arena, Manager Keith Hill has praised the competition’s format.
Following a rebrand of the EFL Trophy, group stages were introduced for the 2016/17 season and have remained in place since.
Rochdale have topped their respective group in the three consecutive years since the new format was introduced, while giving opportunities to young players, including Daniel Adshead, Matty Gillam, Luke Matheson and Aaron Morley.
“I love the new format because I can play Luke Matheson and I can play Dan Adshead, and trial to a certain extent, especially in the group stages. I think it’s brilliant,” said Hill.
“It’s a good competition and it’s one we want to be successful in and I’m going to select a side [for Wednesday’s game] that reflects our future interest in trying to get to Wembley.”
And Hill says no matter what side he selected, he wants the players to employ the same time of attitude and application as seen in Dale’s FA Cup fixture against Portsmouth at the weekend.
“The performance levels and their attitude has to reflect the reasons why I’m selecting them and the game plan, and the reasons why those players should want to make an impact on the future of the football club and on their own futures as well.
“I’m looking for responsibility from the players, like I get from Luke Matheson and Dan Adshead. I need it from the other players, too.”