The prospect of a long, hard season spent staving off relegation will drive the best managers a bit loopy though Rochdale’s Keith Hill hopes it will work for him.
Hill took a gamble with his starting line-up in Tuesday’s 5-2 defeat of Crewe Alexandra – sticking last season’s left-back Matty Done up front which raised eyebrows – however the makeshift forward responded emphatically with a hat-trick.
Hill was also called into finding a goalkeeper at the last minute with regular stopper Josh Lillis out injured for eight or nine weeks, Leicester City loanee Conrad Logan pulling off several fine saves on a rollercoaster evening for the manager.
“We’ve come up with a formula tonight, whether or not it works again I’m not too sure, it might not work at home against Bristol City,” Hill told Dale Player.
“I’m not too sure where I’m going to go to, it was never my thought process to go with it again on Saturday, so call me mad, but I’m going to have to come up with a different plan.
“Like Burnley found it difficult on Monday night playing against Chelsea, we’ll find it difficult playing against Bristol City, but we’re looking forward to the fixture.”
Hill was especially happy with Done and his strike partner Ian Henderson, as he made six changes to the side that lost 2-1 against Chesterfield at the weekend.
Needs must, said Hill.
“There has got to be a certain bravery, or stupidity to what I do, and the reward was the result and the performance.
“At the end of the game it felt better than winning promotion because there was a massive risk in picking that side. We had looked at the opposition and we, believe it or not, come up with plans, and we felt as we grew into the game that the plan could evolve and it did.
“For a manager and a management team, we’re working harder now than we ever did at any time last year. We were an outstanding side in League Two and now we’ve got to be competitive in League One. It has been difficult for the players and it will continue to be difficult.”
Rochdale lie 17th after three fixtures and next face City and Bradford at home before they take on Crewe again in the Football League Trophy, as they seek to keep morale high and stay within touching distance of mid-table.
Main image courtesy of Official RochdaleAFC via YouTube, with thanks.