Manager Robbie Stockdale reflects on Dale’s 3-3 pre-season friendly draw with Fleetwood Town at the Crown Oil Arena…
“I was pleased with it [the game], in many aspects,” said the Gaffer.
"I know I’m short on bodies but when we had the senior players on the pitch, and I include those ones that came on, I can see what they are about and it just re-enhances what my opinion of them was. They worked ever so hard and they’re trying to take things on board which is the exciting bit.
“So, in that respect against a team that’s in the league above - but not a massive difference because we were playing against them last year - I thought we played very well at times.
“There’s still things we need to improve on, that goes without saying, but I told the boys before the game that it’s not where we are now, it’s where we are in three weeks time, so there are lots of positives.
"As we go into the second half and we’re starting to make changes, I spoke to the younger players about the levels that are required, and what a great experience for them to come onto the pitch in front of fans. They’ll get more opportunities to play, I’m sure. In terms of the two sides of what I was looking for, I think it ticks a lot of boxes.”
Rochdale started the game brightly and dominated the opening exchanges, as Stephen Dooley broke the deadlock after just eight minutes with a fine finish after latching onto a ball over the top from Ollie Rathbone.
“There was some good play, wasn’t there and we were on the front foot.
“I have to say, it was ridiculously hot. To keep that tempo going, even with a drinks break midway through each half, it is almost impossible, so I was looking at a bit of shape behind the ball when they had it. It was good but there are things to improve if we play a three against three central defenders and we’ll work on that, but you’ve got to think that I’ve only been here less than a week and it’ll get better.”
After the Cod Army had equalised, Jake Beesley put Dale back in front, placing a brilliant header beyond Alex Cairns, having met Alex Newby’s ball in from the right.
“[The first one was a creative goal in and around the box and [it was] clever play, and the second one was a counter-attack. I hope we’re not wasting those, as I’d like to use them when the season starts! It just shows that the players are taking on messages. If I had have stood here and we’d have won 3-1 everyone would have been thinking that we were going to be doing this and that - it’s still the next game that gets the process going.”
Having been appointed as first team manager last Saturday, Stockdale took his first training session on Monday. He reflects on his first few days in charge.
“Im at home when I’m on the grass coaching and I felt at home in the dug out today. The players are responsive - I’m asking them to do things that they’ve maybe not been asked to do before and I think you can see that they are trying to take it on. I think that today was my first game, really, in charge, and I’ve been able to get some messages into them and they’re trying their best to put into action the ideas that I have.”
Watch the manager’s post-match interview in full on our YouTube channel below.