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Interviews

It's A Good Competition For Us - Joe Rafferty On Checkatrade Trophy

13 December 2018

Joe Rafferty says the Checkatrade Trophy is a good competition for the club after reaching the third round on Tuesday night.

Dale overcame near neighbours Oldham Athletic 2-0, thanks to two goals in added time, and Rafferty was pleased to make it through.

“It was a good game,” said Rafferty.

“When it’s a derby, no matter if it’s in the league, FA Cup, Checkatrade Trophy, it’s always a good game.

“They brought quite a few fans so it was a good atmosphere. There were some good tackles – a few of us have some cuts and bruises! But all in all, it was a good game.

“We always seemed to be creating chances, they just weren’t going in. We knew if we kept playing the way we were, kept moving it fast, that we’d get chances. We ended up getting the penalty, which I was lucky enough to score.

“It’s a good competition for us. It’s a chance to play at Wembley at the end of it. It’s a great result for us and we look forward to facing Manchester City Under-21s in the next round.

“I assume they’ll play just like the first-team. They will be a bunch of young lads that are keen to impress. We’ve just got to match them and we’ll do our best.”

The full-back missed a penalty in a goalless draw against Oldham in the league last season, and he was delighted to put that right by scoring from the spot on Tuesday night.

“I was made up to be able to score it. We said last season that it was God’s plan! It went down to the last day, JT ended up scoring after coming back from his illness, so I just believed I was meant to miss that penalty. But this one, I was always going to score!

“Gilly would have taken it, he’s a good penalty taker. When I grabbed the ball I was looking for him, but then I realised he was off the pitch!

“It was up to me and Brad [Inman], and I think Dan Adshead wanted it, but I always want to step up. If I get a chance to score then I want to take it.”

The 25-year-old was already celebrating for other reasons, having got engaged at the weekend, as well as reaching an appearance landmark for the club.

“I’m over the moon! I think it was my 250th appearance today as well, so it’s all good.

“Tottenham at home is a great memory, but the big one for me is Charlton at home on the last day of the season to keep us in the league.”

It was Rafferty’s first appearance in the tournament this season, but he was full of praise for Academy player Luke Matheson who had starred in the group stages at right-back for Dale.

“Luke was incredible when he came on [against Bury] and then he started the games after.

“He’s a top lad and a top player. He comes in when he can because of school, works hard and he’s a very good player.

“I hope he has a long career in the game because he’s a great lad and I hope he does really well.”

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