Robbie Stockdale says Wednesday’s pre-season friendly against Barnsley was a worthwhile run out for his side.
Dale were narrowly beaten 2-1 by the Championship side, after playing both halves with two completely different outfield players.
The manager, for who the game was his first in charge of the club, was pleased with his players.
“It’s another good run out for us against another very strong team,” said Stockdale.
“They were a couple of games away from playing in the Premier League last year and they haven’t lost many of their players – Alex Mowatt’s left – but not many more, so it was a good challenge for us. We can take positives and we can take negatives out of it, it’s a typical pre-season game.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but the players are really open to that. When you are working with two different teams and two different shapes because of personnel, it can be difficult.
“The staff had already put a plan together in terms of that, but in fairness I’d have done the same thing.
“They’re almost glorified training games. We can have them in-house but it’s so much more competitive against another team. The players ticked the boxes in terms of that.
“All I asked from the players today is for application, do the right things at the right times and decision making, and I think more times than not we got that right.
“We’ll get better, no doubt about it, but overall, it was a very worthwhile game for us.”
Paul McShane, who left the club at the end of his contract last season, lined up for Dale in the second-half, with the gaffer explaining his inclusion.
“Paul had come to an agreement with the previous manager that he could train with us to keep his fitness and I see no reason not to honour that.
“I think that’s fair on him if it was agreed before I came in. He’s a fantastic character and a great professional, so there’s no issues with that from my point of view.”
Dale’s pre-season schedule has seen them play two Championship sides in the first two games, with two matches against League One opposition to follow.
“If you can come away being competitive in those games, it can stand you in good stead.
“We’re not going to come across the standard of player that we came across, especially in that first-half, in League Two, it’s just not going to happen.
“But we were competitive so that’s good. Every game in pre-season is about making sure we do the right things at the right times.”
Next up, Dale welcome Fleetwood Town to the Crown Oil Arena, for what will be the first game in front of home supporters since March 2020.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the supporters back in. I’m sure it’s been on their mind for a long time to get back into the ground.
“Hopefully they enjoy their day, everybody is safe and happy, and the players put on a good performance for them.”
You can watch the full interview with the Dale boss below via our YouTube channel.