February 27, 2018 / 1:26 PM / 5 months ago

Tottenham replay no day out for Rochdale

LONDON (Reuters) - Rochdale will not treat Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round replay against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley as a day out and their manager Keith Hill is busy formulating the perfect plan to stop Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - FA Cup Fourth Round - Millwall vs Rochdale - The Den, London, Britain - January 27, 2018 Rochdale's manager Keith Hill applauds the fans at the end of the match Action Images/Tony O'Brien

The third-tier strugglers, bottom of League One, earned a replay after a last-gasp 2-2 draw at Spotland Stadium and are the lowest-ranked club in the sixth-round draw.

Tottenham, fourth in the Premier league after an unbeaten run stretching back to mid-December, are huge favourites at their adopted home as they seek to win the competition for the ninth time and first since 1991.

Despite initial problems adapting to Wembley, Tottenham have beaten Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal there this season.

“It’s not a day out for us,” Hill said. “We’re trying to do what would be an impossible task, which is play at Tottenham’s home ground and win an FA Cup replay.

“We’re trying to come up with the perfect plan, which has got to be delivered perfectly by the players.

“We’ve seen Premier League opposition and Champions League opposition not being able to manage it.”

“But we’ve done our due diligence on Tottenham and we’ve just got to make sure that we focus on our own game plan and not get carried away by the occasion.”

Rochdale lost to Wigan Athletic at the weekend to stay bottom of League One and Hill wants his team to be brave.

“We’ll try and play them at a game of football. I will encourage my players to be creative but focused, with intelligent energy,” he said.

“It’s going to be a difficult game but an enjoyable opportunity and that’s what I want the players to see it as.

“They’re going to have to be brave, and if we’re brave and we get beat by four, five or six, then it’s something that me, as a coach, will accept.

“If we’re not too brave, then I’ll find that very difficult to digest, because I want us to take Tottenham on.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond

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