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Millers' yo-yo story all set to continue - Interview
Friday, 7th Jan 2022 09:30 by Clive Whittingham

Rotherham head to QPR in the FA Cup on Saturday having recently ended a remarkable unbeaten run of 22 games, but still looking well set to make another immediate return to the Championship according to our regular Miller Ross Middleton.

Looks like it's going well, how would you assess the season so far?

It’s been excellent to be fair. We’ve managed to keep hold of a lot of last season’s squad, barring Matt Crooks, and after a slow start we’ve hit our rhythm, overpowered teams and have the strength in depth to hurt teams in both halves. I would expect us to win the league comfortably as our results against teams around us have been good but January’s transfer activities will dictate that.

Rotherham league results so far…
Rotherham 2-0 Plymouth Ladapo 10, Wiles 38
Wigan 1-0 Rotherham Keane 90
Morecambe 0-1 Rotherham Smith 60
Rotherham 0-2 Sheff Wed Kamberi 50, Gregory 77
Rotherham 2-0 Doncaster Smith 27, 45
Rotherham 2-4 Fleetwood Smith 38, Sadlier pen 45 – Morton 24, Garner 54, Andrew 61, Camps 69
Lincoln 1-1 Rotherham Fiorini 55 – Smith 22
Bolton 0-2 Rotherham Wiles 18, 22
Rotherham 1-1 Crewe Rathbone 54 – Porter pen 90
Rotherham 3-0 Wimbledon Grigg 36, Smith 45, 90
Cheltenham 0-2 Rotherham Grigg 51, Edmonds-Green 71
Rotherham 4-1 Portsmouth Smith 29, 55, Wood 60, Wiles 62 – Harness 49
Rotherham 0-0 Wycombe
MK Dons 0-3 Rotherham Ihiekwe 27, Smith 65, Ladapo 75
Rotherham 5-1 Sunderland Smith 10, 73, Ladapo 41, 88, Ihiekwe 53 – Stewart 24
Charlton 1-1 Rotherham Washington 83 – Miller 45
Rotherham 3-1 Cambridge Wiles 34, Barlaser pen 45, Ladapo 81 – Smith 51
Ipswich 0-2 Rotherham Wiles 24, Ferguson 59
Oxford 0-0 Rotherham
Rotherham 5-1 Gillingham Ladapo 39, Miller 45, Barlaser pen 59, 81, Ogbene 89 – Lee 5
Rotherham 3-1 Burton Ladapo 23, 48, Barlaser 84 – Hemmings 44
Cambridge 0-1 Rotherham Barlaser 66
Accrington 1-0 Rotherham McConville 75
Rotherham 2-1 Bolton Smith 40, 74 – Doyle 42

A defeat! To Accrington. First in 22 games. Start of a collapse?

Hopefully not! To be fair it was coming about four games before that and it could be a blessing in disguise. We were so bad. No one likes to lose but maybe the team needed shaking up a little bit. A New Year’s Day win over Bolton has avoided the inevitable losing run that sometimes comes after such a long unbeaten run, so hopefully that continues. We have too much quality in this squad to drop and this manager and squad are experts at getting out of this division. It’s just staying in the division above that is the test.

What's changed from last year's team, what differences will we see?

I’m hoping you’ll see a more attacking side than in previous Championship years. We’re still capable of outrunning any side as we’ll always be one of the fittest sides in the league, but we also possess quality, especially in midfield with Dan Barlaser playing some great stuff. Chiedozie Ogbene (Ireland legend) is our most important weapon with his speed and trickery, final product isn’t always there but he’ll be a threat throughout hopefully. And Michael Smith has added more goals to his obvious physical threat – 18 scored so far.

Any January rumours? What's needed?

We’re going to need one or two strikers with today’s news that Freddie Ladapo wants out and has handed in a transfer request, added to the long-term interest in Michael Smith and Will Grigg possibly being recalled by Sunderland just so he doesn’t help us. I think we’re ok as far as the rest of the squad is concerned, so Paul Warne will be hoping January comes and goes very quickly indeed.

Summer Ins >>> Hakeem Odoffin, 23, DM, Hamilton, Undisclosed >>> Oliver Rathbone, 24, CM, Rochdale, Undisclosed >>> Tolaji Bola, 23, LB, Arsenal, Loan >>> Shane Ferguson, 30, LM, Millwall, Free >>> Josh Chapman, 18, GK, Sheff Utd, Free >>> Will Grigg, 30, CF, Sunderland, Loan >>> Rarmani Edmonds-Green, 22, CB, Huddersfield, Loan

Summer Outs >>> Matt Crooks, 27, CM, Boro, £1.17m >>> Trevor Clarke, 23, LB, Bristol Rovers, Undisclosed >>> Jake Cooper, 20, CB, Darlington, Loan >>> Jake Hull, 19, CB, Guiseley, Loan >>> Jacob Gratton, 19, LW, Guiseley, Loan >>> Curtis Tilt, 30, CB, Wigan, Loan >>> Matthew Olusunde, 23, RB, Preston, Free >>> Kyle Vassell, 28, CF, Cheltenham, Free >>> Clark Robertson, 27, CB, Portsmouth, Free >>> Shaun MacDonald, 33, CM, Crewe, Free >>> Jamie Proctor, 29, CF, Port Vale, Free >>> Billy Jones, 34, RB, Retired

Where does this weekend's game fit on the priority list? What sort of team will we see?

If I’m honest I think it comes last in terms of the competitions were left in this season. League is obviously number one and the Papa Johns (although a joke in the format itself) is getting some of our squad players valuable game time and we are actually progressing in it. This game is probably as much an annoyance to us as it is to yourselves (other than giving your squad players a runout I suppose), we’ll have to play a strong side to attempt to get through, and you’ll have been as inspired as we were when the draw was made.

If you are promoted, what needs to happen next year for it not to be another yo-yo?

My message to Paul Warne would be “go for it”! We’ve been so cautious in previous years – I’m not saying play 424 and gung ho but there were games last year when we were crying out for a bit of bold play from someone. We also need more luck with injuries, Covid included nowadays, as the schedule was a bitch at the end of last season (Mr Klopp take note).

Links >>> Rotherham United official website >>> Sheffield Star – Local Press >>> Millers Banter – Forum

The Twitter @loftforwords, RossMid38810197

Pictures – Action Images

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TacticalR added 14:50 - Jan 8
Thanks to Ross.

Rotherham are currently top, and have beaten Sunderland 5-1, so a very good season so far.

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