Rochdale’s Hill says playoff hopes ‘over’ following Swindon Town defeat

Rochdale AFC’s playoff hopes are over barring a ‘freakish run of results’, according to manager Keith Hill after his side lost 4-2 to Swindon Town on Tuesday night.

Ben Gladwin’s first-half hat-trick helped assure Mark Cooper’s side a playoff spot, with Ian Henderson 20th of the campaign and Nathan Thompson’s own goal offering little consolation.

Hill acknowledged a top six finish this season is now highly unlikely, but is still adamant that the club is punching above its weight.

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Hill said: “I think our playoff hopes are over. It could still happen but it would have to be a freakish run of results because Chesterfield are in really good form.

“We’ve never been a Championship side, and the odds are that in my lifetime it will prove very difficult to achieve.

“We’re trying to aspire to be a Championship side, but there is no quick fix. We’ve been an established League Two side for 100 years, and have spent only four seasons in League One.”

Gladwin completed his hat-trick in the space of 20 minutes, with Mark Smith also weighing in for Swindon in a dominant first-half performance at Spotland.

Henderson grabbed one back from the penalty spot just before the break after a foul on Andy Cannon, and Thompson’s late own goal didn’t influence the result.

Rochdale’s defeat, coupled with Chesterfield’s 6-0 demolition of Colchester United, leaves Hill’s men seven points behind the Spireites with four games remaining.

“We’re always looking at next season and planning for the future, but we can’t waste these four games,” said Hill.

“We will contest, with the players we have available, every game that we’re playing and that could take us into next season in good form.”

Rochdale travel to Gillingham at the weekend, with the playoff dream now firmly out of their own hands.

Main image courtesy of Official Rochdale AFC via YouTube, with thanks.

Related Articles