HILL LOOKS TO NEW SIGNINGS
AFTER his side were held to a goalless draw by Chesterfield, Rochdale manager Keith Hill admitted he has plenty left to do before the transfer window closes.
Both sides slipped out of the top six after this stalemate but still harbour hopes of promotion, with Hill hoping to move three Dale players out and get three reinforcements to bolster their chances.
Rochdale took the plaudits for some fine one-touch football and but for a combination of fine goalkeeping from home keeper Tommy Lee and some wayward finishing, could have travelled back over the Pennines with all three points.
Both goalkeepers turned in excellent displays, but it was Dale’s Donal McDermott who caught the eye with another excellent performance.
“I thought we were by far the better team, particularly in the first half,” said Hill. “We played some outstanding stuff and, on any other day, might have had a penalty.
“We had to cope with some injuries but those who came on equipped themselves well. It was the sort of team performance I have been looking for, everyone supporting and working hard for one another.
“That said, I thought Donal McDermott was far and away the outstanding player on the pitch today. From start to finish he never faltered and was always a threat to the opposition.
On the transfer situation, Hill added: “If I was to leave my wife, I wouldnt tell anyone who I was leaving her for. I have players in mind but they have to be within our budget. I do feel we need to add to what we have if we are to build on this performance and the promising start we have made.”
In the first period Ian Evatt went close for Chesterfield with two headers while Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was unlucky not to give the home side the lead when his farpost header was brilliantly kept out by Josh Lillis.
Rochdale can consider themselves unlucky not have had a penalty on 78 minutes when Drew Talbot appeared to handle McDermott’s cross, the referee waving away Dale’s appeals.
The nearest either side came to breaking the deadlock in the second-half was when McDermott’s 20-yard shot was palmed to safety by Lee at full stretch.
“It was a great game to watch, one of those rare entertaining goalless draws,” said Spireites manager Dean Saunders. “We were not our usual selves in the first half. We gave the ball away and our movement was not quick enough. We were fortune to get away with it against a team who I think will be there or thereabouts come May.
“That said we improved in the second half. Their goalkeeper pulled off some good saves but Tommy Lee had to be at his best to keep us in it. The fact we let the opposition back into the game will be something we shall be working on this week.
“We have to show more and quicker movement on and off the ball. Close sides down and ensure when we do create chances, we take one of them.”
CLASH: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (right) & Rochdale’s Joseph Rafferty battle for the ball