Hill urges Rochdale to keep ‘growing’ after Port Vale win brightens up dark spell

Keith Hill says his Rochdale side must now find some consistency after their 2-1 win at home to Port Vale on Saturday.

Dale went behind to an early Chris Birchall strike before Ian Henderson and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored either side of the break to seal the three points.

The win was only their second in 10 games and now Hill wants his side to enjoy the winning feeling on a more regular basis.

“As a manager you need three points on a regular basis or points on the board ticking over in the league,” he said.

“It’s a difficult battle to balance – trying to give players opportunities and get three points.

“It’s difficult because what we’re trying to at Rochdale Football Club is get points in a league that we’re unfamiliar with.

“I’m really pleased that we got the three points and I think it was a three point performance. There was an attacking intent.

“We looked at the opposition and I thought we could play with two number 10s.

“I was really pleased with the way that we played and I probably would have been if we had drawn the game or lost the game.

“We got a leg up today – it wasn’t a penalty and I do sympathise with Rob the opposition manager and Port Vale, but having said that, I think the first goal is a bit of freakish goal – I think the pitch held the ball up.

“It could have rocked us confidence wise but it didn’t. I saw us grow today – I saw the players grow and I put my trust in them and I always will do.”

Hill also picked out James Hooper for praise after making the first start of his professional career.

“James Hooper – it has been a wrestle with myself, him and the rest of the staff about what I want from him but he can provide that type of performance.

“I’ve got to nurture him and I’ve got to give him fresh legs on the training pitch because he has come off with cramp today.

“When I look at the two spectrums, Calvin Andrew for example and James Hooper, I think it’s brilliant that the players support what I’m trying to do at this football club, as well as the board of directors. They back each other up.

“In between that, I look at Callum Camps and see how he is growing maturity wise and that’s where I’ve got to be patient as a manager.

“That’s where I think in the long term the points will bear dividends.”

Dale fans will be hoping their side can record back-to-back wins for the first time since August when they take on Bury in the FA Cup on Sunday (12pm), live on BT Sport.

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

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