Trio out in Hill’s bid to reshape
KEITH Hill set about his January squad shaping this week with three players heading out of the exit door.
Portsmouth had already let the cat out of the bag on Andy Cannon’s switch to Fratton Park and the move was confirmed by Dale on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old, who was due to be out of contract at Dale this summer, has joined Pompey for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £150,000 with add ons.
Cannon, a Rochdale Academy graduate, made his professional debut in September 2014, and has gone on to make nearly 130 appearances for Hill’s side since then.
Meanwhile, left-back Sam Hart has returned to his parent club, Blackburn Rovers, and the contract of Brendan Moore has been terminated by mutual consent to allow him to return home to America.
On Cannon’s move to the south coast, Hill said: “It’s football and the language we speak, and it’s the business that we do at this football club.
“Andy has found it difficult for most of this season to be available for selection due to one or two niggling injuries and he hasn’t spent an awful lot of time on the training pitch but we always knew there was an interest from Portsmouth. When we played them in the league and in the FA Cup, I got a phone call straight after the game from Kenny Jackett to see if we were willing to do business.
“I said yes, as long as Portsmouth met the club’s valuation on Andy.
“It’s the business that the football club does to make sure that its future is secure.
“Andy has done brilliantly for us. I remember his debut away at Leyton Orient like it was yesterday, the celebrations after that game were amazing.
“He burst onto the scene with no fear, and for the remainder of that season when Andy played as an assertive attacking right-back, I thought there were some exceptional performances.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to go to Portsmouth, and that’s what I want as a manager.
“If I lead young players into the football league, I want them to be ambitious and I want them to play at the top of the tree, with respect to their own capabilities.
“Andy has an unbelievable opportunity to go and work for Kenny Jackett and for a massive club in Portsmouth so I hope he takes it. I wish him all the best.”
On the departures of Hart and Moore, Hill commented: “I must thank Sam. He is a great lad and he has been a real pleasure to work with. I wish him every success in his footballing future.
“Brendan’s decision came out of the blue but I’ve listened to him, and from a compassionate point of view, I understand his desires and I won’t stand in his way.
“There is a certain amount of bravery to come and knock on my door and explain how things have materialised, so I respect and admire for him that.
“He’s been playing first team football but emotionally and due to his family ties, he has come to the decision that wants to go back home and forge a career in the USA. I’ve reluctantly agreed to that because it’s the right thing to do for Brendan.
“I’d like to thank him for everything he has done for us and wish him all the best for the future.”
●●Andy Cannon has left Rochdale to join League One rivals Portsmouth