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Williams On Rochdale Test

18 October 2016

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Town Head Coach Luke Williams is full of admiration for the work Keith Hill has carried out at Rochdale ahead of the two sides locking horns at The County Ground tonight (7.45pm Kick-Off).

Hill has led Dale to seven victories on the bounce in all competitions, including a 2-0 victory at home to local rivals Bury at the weekend.

Rochdale are currently riding high in fourth place in the Sky Bet League One table, and Williams has been impressed by the job Hill has done at the Crown Oil Arena.

“They’ve got a very good manager and very good staff that are real thinkers and they experiment a lot with the team,” Williams told

“They try to work out what’s best for them and they change players’ positions a lot to see if they can come up with the perfect system.

“That’s what they’ve done and they’ve come up with something that really suits them. Many of the players have been at the club for a few seasons and have had a chance to work with the staff and get to know what they want more.

“I think they are getting what they deserve and I feel it was a matter of time for this group to hit a very good run of form. They left it a little bit late before they had a surge towards the play-offs last season and, if I’m not mistaken, they missed out by one point or goal difference.

“When you’ve got a decent group of players and you’ve got a committed group of staff that are thinking all the time, this run of form can happen.

"It will be a huge test for us and they've been growing as a club. Keith Hill is outstanding and he's very capable of changing the formation and tweaking the tactics. He's got players who have been with him for a while and they know what to expect. 

"I'm not at all surprised with how good they are."

Town lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation during their 0-0 draw away at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and looked extremely solid and compact, but Williams is now looking for his side to strike the perfect balance.

“We can improve and be able to strike a better balance and be able to attack with more numbers as well as be able to defend the long ball,” he added.

“It is a work in progress and we’ve demonstrated to ourselves that we can really dominate the ball and we can attack extremely well at times, and we’ve now demonstrated that we can also make recovery runs, be in the correct positions and pick up the seconds balls and challenge for the first one even if we’re outmuscled.

“We need to strike a balance and one thing that is difficult is to be making crunching tackles and flying in to shut people down when you’ve got all of the ball, so a lot of the time our opponents are spending a long period of the game shutting us down and we’ve been out-fouled in every single game of the season because we have the ball.

“We’re not always the team who are trying to make big tackles or big sprints to go and shut people down because we’re so often the team with the ball, but we set-up to not have as much of the ball against Wimbledon and you could see then that there is more opportunity for us to defend, there are more crunching tackles, there is more shutting people down and we’ve got far more players behind the ball that are going forward to press rather than making recovery runs.

“If we can get a combination then we’ve still got a fantastic chance of achieving something this season.”

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