‘Let’s hope we maintain it’: Rochdale boss Hill not shocked by Walsall walkover

Keith Hill insists he always knew his players were capable after his Rochdale side’s emphatic 3-0 win at high-flying Walsall.

Ian Henderson fired Dale into an early lead before two Calvin Andrew strikes either side of the break sealed an unlikely win to continue their strong form over the festive period.

That’s now three games unbeaten for Rochdale who now sit pretty in ninth position but Hill is determined to ensure they maintain their standards.

“I’m not shocked because I know we’re capable of doing this,” Hill said.

“I think I’ve got a very good squad of players, some of the players are quite young but hopefully this is the sign of things to come.

“Let’s hope we can maintain it, I think we can but it’s a question for the players and the squad of players. 

“We’ve got player coming back now from injury, with Jamie Allen, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Rhys Bennett on the bench. We’ve also got Joe Rafferty. 

“We’ve got a good squad and there’s a little bit of pressure now from the substitute’s bench and the players who aren’t playing. That, for me, creates a great competition for places. 

“It is competitive and it has to be competitive on the training pitch. It manifests in obviously trying to keep your shirt, which is brilliant.”

Hill was understandably elated with his side’s display at the home of the then league-leaders.

“I think it was an unbelievable performance from ourselves,” Hill added.

“I don’t think it was due to Walsall not being on form or complacent.

“They’re an excellent side but I just think that we were absolutely superb in our game plan and our execution of that game plan. I’m really pleased for the players because they worked exceptionally hard. 

“Sometimes you get a feeling on the training pitch when you look in the players’ eyes and I’ve had that feeling this week. I’ve had that feeling probably since the preparation for the Crewe game [on Boxing Day].

“I think it was a stand-out performance, both individually and collectively. We absolutely dominated the League One leaders.

“The players, the supporters, the Chairman and the Board of Directors, and me and the staff should be exceptionally proud.

“Walsall are a very good side and they manipulate the ball well. I think they’ve got excellent players and I like watching them, but like I said, we had a game plan.

“We had opportunities, probably less possession than the opposition at times, but we had great opportunities. I’m not bemoaning the score-line, I think it’s a great score-line, but it could quite easily have been five.

“I’ve got to compliment the players for executing the game plan and for the way that they did things. I’m really pleased.”

Dale fans will be hoping their side can follow up the win when they take on Chesterfield at Spotland this Saturday.

Image courtesy of Rochdale FC, via Youtube, with thanks

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