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Interviews

Keith Hill Ahead Of Portsmouth Clash

28 September 2018

Keith Hill says Rochdale competing in League One is “special” ahead of his side’s Sky Bet League One game against Portsmouth on Saturday.

This is the club’s fifth successive season in the third tier, and Hill says Dale should enjoy the journey.

“There’s a lot of good things going on at this football club and we’re building on the successes that we’ve in the last four in League One, going into the fifth season in League One.

“We’ve got to stabilise but enjoy the journey. [We have to] enjoy playing against the Sunderlands, the Portsmouths, because these two football clubs have been Premier League clubs not too long ago.

“It’s special for a club like Rochdale to be competing in League One, and we are competing, there’s no question about that, and I’m sure we’re going to have a successful season.

“There’s a lot of positive things that we can judge our football club by. Too often, too many times, if you lose a game it’s like you’ve picked up a disease. That’s football in a nutshell.

“It’s as though you’ve contracted something that’s poisonous to everybody. The feeling of losing a game is not nice, but it’s not the be all and end all.

“There’s lots of good things, there’s a lot to work with and we’re looking forward to the remainder of the season.

“We want to be successful and I want to challenge this group of players and next season’s group of players, and the season’s after that, to try and reach the supposed possible dream which is Championship football for Rochdale Football Club.

“We can’t do it by investing money so we invest time in players and there is a feeling sometimes that you have got some sort of disease when you lose a football match, but we haven’t and it’s part and parcel of learning, playing against better opposition.

“League One is getting harder and harder, but it’s important that we retain our realism and our ambition without the emotional suicide that you can commit by just losing a game.”

Saturday’s opponents Portsmouth are unbeaten in League One so far this season and it is a test that Hill is looking forward to.

“I’ve got a massive amount of admiration for Kenny Jackett and their staff, and the way that he’s having success with Portsmouth.

“They demand success the Portsmouth supporters, because they’re a Premier League club playing in League One, and that’s what we’re bumping into.

“History will tell you that, but we’re not playing the history books we’re playing Portsmouth and Kenny Jackett on Saturday. There’s no Peter Crouch playing or big-name players, but Kenny’s done really good business in his recruitment and I think they’re, rightly so, one of the favourites for promotion this season.

“We can prepare the players, but again they have to manage their own emotions. They have to manage better decision making on the pitch.

“The team that’s selected have to accept responsibility and they will do, there’s no question about that. Over the course of 46 games they will accept the responsibility.

“I’m hoping and planning that it will happen on Saturday and they can put into practice everything we’ve prepared them to do.

“We’re playing against an opposition that are very confident and are second in the table at this moment in time.

“Again, there’s no real reason why we can’t be competitive and win this game.”

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