Football: Keith Hill discusses going to Wembley and Dale's fight to stay in League One

Date published: 20 February 2018

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Rochdale AFC manager Keith Hill spoke of his game plan for the Wembley FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur and his thoughts on Dale's relegation fight in an interview with Rochdale Online at the Platts Lane Sports Complex on Tuesday (20 February).

Hill said: “I feel immensely proud about the game on Sunday. The players had an almost perfect game plan against an elite side in Europe, never mind the Premier League, so I am really pleased but straight away our professional heads get turned back on for the league campaign.

“Since we have recovered from Sunday night we have been planning for the match against MK Dons on Wednesday (21 February). We are training and meeting up and we are just going to do what we always do and come up with a game plan.

 “Those players who played should have physically recovered. We are only doing light training this week, so the players do not get strained physically but also mentally we are making sure that we do not add to the stress and the chaos that they have already been through."

Speaking of how he thinks Rochdale will perform for the rest of the season, Hill said: “The performances have not been a problem all season, it has been more about the individual mistakes throughout the course of the season where we have been narrowly beaten.

“We have scored a lot of goals away from home and then been beaten by the odd one like MK Dons away where we got beat narrowly and got beat at Shrewsbury and Bradford by the odd goal and Bristol Rovers.

“The form has been good, but for us to turn these performances into victories we need to make sure that we cut out these odd mini mistakes and individual errors.

“The way that the players have played for most of the season with passion and with temperament and energy has been pretty good and I expect that regardless of who we are playing, even if it is three days after we have just entertained Tottenham at home.”

Speaking of the chances of a relegation, Hill said: “The chances are very high at this moment in time and if you look at the games that we have got in hand, I would rather have the points on the table and no games in hand than be be three points away from survival, so I am pretty pragmatic, due respect to the psychology of the situation. It would be a similar task to fulfilling the impossible dream.”

Giving a message to the supporters who attended the Sunday match against Tottenham at the Crown Oil Arena, Hill said: “First and foremost thank you. I think they made the town and community proud. The day consisted of a lot of different people from different backgrounds meeting and enjoying each other’s company but also enjoying a football spectacle.

“It was special to see the stadium so full, and afterwards seeing the accolades that the players were getting from the supporters.

"I think it would be unrealistic for those supporters to keep turning up week in, week out, because, like I have previously said, I do not like the supporters being taxed financially and it is hard for families to get to games, but it was a special occasion.

“Even if we do get an extra one hundred turning up for Wednesday’s fixture that would be equally as rewarding because we do need their support.

"It would be nice if the stadium was like that every game.”

When asked if there are any significant players who will miss the upcoming games, Hill said: “Calvin Andrew is not fit and will not be fit for a couple of weeks. We are hopeful that he could be included in the squad for the reverse fixture at Wembley.”

The date for the Wembley fixture against Tottenham has been confirmed as Wednesday 28 February.


Keith Hill on the trip to Wembley and the League One campaign
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