Fleetwood defender Eastham: Both Rosler and Hill set high standards

Rochdale manager Keith Hill
Rochdale manager Keith Hill

Fleetwood defender Ashley Eastham says his old boss Keith Hill helped to mould him as a player as he prepares to welcome former club Rochdale to Highbury.

Hill brought Eastham to Spotland from Blackpool in 2013, when the centre-half was 22.

He enjoyed a three-year, 76-game spell at Dale before the Preston lad switched to Fleetwood in the summer of 2016.

Hill helped Eastham to improve and the player says Town head coach Uwe Rosler is having a similar impact.

He said: “I had a great time at Rochdale. Keith improved me a hell of a lot and I feel like I am improving year on year.

“I joined Rochdale at an age when I was still finding my feet in the game and he taught me quite quickly, along with assistant Chris Beech, how to defend properly in the Football League.”

Hill was a defender in his playing days at Dale, Blackburn and Plymouth and Eastham sees similarities between him and Rosler.

He said: “They are both winners. They both have high expectations of the players on the training pitch and come match day.

“I think the lads know, with Keith and the same here, that you don’t get on the wrong side of your manager.

“If you do things right and train properly, give 100 per cent and do your job properly, they have no reason to moan at you.

“The lads know where they stand and that is the best way. It is black and white with your roles and responsibilities.”

Rochdale made a slow start and find themselves 16th in the League One table.

Fleetwood are ninth, having started October with a 2-1 win at Plymouth after conceding 15 in six league games last month.

And Eastham says Town will have to be on their game to get a result against a club he still holds close to his heart.

He said: “I always look at their score every week. I have a lot of friends there. I’m looking forward to coming up against them on Saturday and hopefully getting three points.

“They are an extremely dangerous side. I know the way Keith’s teams play. They are high press, very energetic. They don’t give you much time on the ball and we have to be right up for it tomorrow. We have to start the game well and hopefully we’ll get the win.

“We’ve looked at their squad and one thing for sure is that they have a lot of options at the top of the pitch. They can go with big men, energetic lads, smaller lads. They have a lot of pace out wide, so it is hard to predict what line-up they will pick.

“We have a game-plan for however they set-up and we are looking forward to it.”