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Hill: Bristol Rovers atmosphere should be a great test for the players

6 May 2022

First team manager Keith Hill has spoken to iFollow Iron ahead of his side's trip to take on Bristol Rovers on the final day of the regular League Two season.

The hosts come into the game looking for a victory that could seal automatic promotion. Joey Barton's team are strong favourites from the outside against the already-relegated Iron, but Hill is hoping his young group of players can rise to the challenge at the Memorial Stadium after some encouraging performances.

Hill said: "It's a great test for the players. Previously, when we played away from home at Bradford, the players got sucked into the atmosphere and were caught in the headlights for the opening minutes - the young players especially. It's something they've got to learn from.

"We're going into another big away atmosphere. The crowd will be on top of the pitch, it's a full house and they're going for promotion, while we're already relegated. Everyone is saying this is a home run for Bristol, including managers of other sides going for promotion. We'll be competitive, as no matter what opposition we face we have been courageous and shown commitment.

"We've made a lot of mistakes, there is no question about that and it's a reason why we've been relegated, but this is one game in isolation and we're going to turn up with a thought process of continuing our plan for the future. We're not going there to roll over and allow Bristol Rovers to celebrate on our behalf.

"Am I going to change it? No. We're going to go with a similar squad. The young lads have been magnificent in their pursuit on the training ground to get into a position where they're playing games. They've gone through the learning processes, and the transition from training ground to first team isn't one game - it takes time. Dan Gallimore has played 11 games this season, but it's not 11 games where you become a professional - it's 50/60. He's due to play again at the weekend and what an atmosphere to play in.

"Joey Barton sets his teams up brilliantly, but let's not forget Bristol Rovers were relegated last season. They've bounced back tremendously. He gutted the football club with respect to the playing squad, rebuilt in his own image and look how successful they're being now.

"The media at some part of this season, and certainly the end of last season, were writing Joey off, saying he wasn't good enough, but look at what they're doing. You've got to trust time in football.

"We're going there 100 per cent focused on trying to upset what is a magnificent team."

280 fans will make the trip to support the Iron, with the away allocation selling out last weekend.

Hill continued: "I thank and appreciate that passion. It's going to be needed. We want to be able to hear those supporters on Saturday (in a full Memorial Stadium). It's a tremendous achievement to be supported in the way we have been throughout this season. It's been very difficult emotionally and psychologically, with constantly being belittled by the football world, in terms of 'look at Scunthorpe and what's happened to them?'. We're looking to change the dynamics of the football club going into this season and will be successful on behalf of the supporters."

Hill added midfielder Jack Moore-Billam is back available for selection at the weekend after recovering from the illness which ruled him out against Hartlepool last weekend.

See much more from Keith Hill and Joe Nuttall on iFollow Iron.


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