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Cherries: Dale boss Hill backs the underdogs
Published : 09 May 2011 07:00:00
BOSS Keith Hill watched Rochdale put a damper on Cherries' play-off preparations and then said the pressure would be off Lee Bradbury's men to progress. Goals from Matt Done and Reece Gray helped Dale come from behind to condemn Cherries to defeat in their final League One game of the season. Despite the setback, Cherries were already assured of a place in the play-offs and will meet third-placed Huddersfield in a two-legged semi-final. Cherries will host the Terriers on Saturday (12.45pm) before heading to the Galpharm Stadium a week on Wednesday (7.45pm), with both legs live on Sky Sports. Hill, who guided Rochdale to promotion alongside Cherries last season, told the Daily Echo: Bournemouth have got a great chance because they are probably outsiders in most peoples' eyes. For me, all the pressure will be on Huddersfield because there is no question they will be the favourites. I would love to be in Bournemouth's shoes going into that game being the underdogs. They are an excellent team with some excellent players and deserve the opportunity to play Huddersfield. On paper, you would suggest Huddersfield would win but we don't play football on paper and the play-offs always throw up different situations. There is a lot of pressure for players to handle and I wouldn't like to call this one. I do think it is an unbelievable opportunity for Bournemouth to progress and maybe go to Old Trafford. If things were not to go their way, there would be no shame in Bournemouth losing in the play-offs because they have had an exceptional season. Hill was Bradbury's first opponent in management when he led Cherries to a 0-0 draw at Spotland just days after replacing Eddie Howe in January. It could have all imploded after Eddie Howe left, as it has so often at other clubs, added Hill. But Lee and Fletch took over and have done a superb job. They deserve their opportunity in the play-offs because they are good people. Cherries drew 2-2 at the Galpharm in early September before a late equaliser denied them victory in a 1-1 draw at Dean Court in February. The Terriers will enter the play-offs on the back of an impressive 25-match unbeaten run. Bradbury said: They will have been disappointed to have missed out on automatic promotion. They probably would have gone up with 87 points in any other season. We know they are going to be hard games but they are ones we are looking forward to. Meanwhile, Bradbury confirmed that loan striker Lauri Dalla Valle had returned to Fulham.