Football - Hill hails Hogan

Rochdale manager Keith Hill insists Scott Hogan will prove to be the key to any success his side have this season after the striker scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon.

PA Sport Report

Hill reluctantly had to leave Hogan out of the starting line-up with speculation over his future during the transfer window visibly getting to the 21-year-old.

But with the window now shut Hogan proved he is back to his best as three second-half strikes moved Dale up to fourth place in League Two.

And Hill is backing his man to lead his side's promotion charge.

"I've never rested Scott Hogan - for the last three weeks he's been all over the place," said Hill.

"It's a shame. I saw him smile for the first time last Saturday when he knew the window had closed.

"He never wanted to go anywhere, but he's had people pulling him from pillar to post trying to orchestrate a move away from this football club.

"All he's ever wanted to do this season is to play for Rochdale, score goals and be free from any pressure.

"Off the back of an unbelievable week's training he's produced three goals. Let him be. Leave him to me and his team-mates and let him be happy and he will propel us to somewhere near the success that we need this season.

"We're a very good side and if we manage to make it to the play-offs and give ourselves a chance of promotion that'll be success in itself."

Hogan opened the scoring after 66 minutes with a sharp finish from close range after a mistake from Ross Worner and he added a second goal after rounding the goalkeeper.

His third was a fantastic lobbed finish eight minutes from time, taking his tally to 15 goals this season.

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