Rochdale young guns need to start firing: Hill’s blunt pre Millwall message

Rochdale manager Keith Hill says the young members in the Rochdale side need to grow up fast as they prepare to face Millwall at the Den tomorrow afternoon.

After last week’s 2-1 success over Scunthorpe United, Hill wasn’t entirely satisfied with his side’s display, stating that they ‘got away with it’.

The Dale chief now says that his younger players need to start maturing, staring at the Den on Saturday in the sides’ first meeting in 50 years.

“The dynamics of the squad are good but I think it can be improved and I do believe that we need the younger element of the squad maturing mentally and physically better than they are doing – that’s the question that I pose to those young players.

“It’s not a five or ten game career, it should be a 400/500/600 game career and I’m asking them along with the senior players to start accepting their responsibility of being a senior player now.

“That’s what separates the younger players from maybe becoming Championship or Premier League players.”

However, Hill was upbeat about his side’s overall start to the season as the table begins to take shape with his side sitting pretty in fifth place.

“It’s a points industry and at this moment in time after eight games we’ve got enough points so I’m pleased with the start.

“I’m pleased with the squad of players that we’ve got and the balance of the squad, with respect to experience and young players.”

Dale will be aiming to push even further up the table as they travel to a Millwall side who have made their worst ever home start to a season, losing all four games at the Den.

However, Lions gaffer Neil Harris was keen to praise his side’s mentality going into tomorrow’s clash.

“We do want to get a win on Saturday and that is the main priority, but the spirit is excellent and the boys are buzzing.

“Every session is top drawer so if we keep doing the right things, showing the attitude, desire and the spirit, then results will come.”

His Millwall side, who haven’t won a home Saturday 3pm kick-off since August 2014, will be without Byron Webster (ankle), Sid Nelson (ribs), Shaun Cummings (hamstring) and Paris Cowan-Hall (groin), while Joe Martin returns.

Whereas Dale, who still hold the joint-best defensive record in League One, once again have no fresh injury concerns.

The men from Spotland have only triumphed once on the road this season back in August at Blackpool, a feat that the travelling Dale army hope will be repeated in South-East London tomorrow.

Image courtesy of Official Rochdale AFC via YouTube, with thanks.

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