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PUNDIT’S VIEW ON ROTHERHAM UNITED

2 October 2020

Paul Davis gives an insight into the Millers

- Expert view on Rotherham
- Explains what he expects from Paul Warne’s side
- Watch the full feature on #HTTV!

Journalist Paul Davis gave us the lowdown on the Millers ahead of Huddersfield Town’s Sky Bet Championship visit to the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday.

Style of play

Rotherham are a big, powerful, fast, fit side. They’re in the Championship, they know they’re not going to be best side in the Championship but what they can be is the most committed and the fittest. Manager Paul Warne was renowned as a hard-working player himself, he was a fitness coach before he became manager so the fitness side of things are really important to him.

They’ll give anyone a game in terms of their running power, it’s lot of balls out wide, balls into the box, it’s all about points of entry. They can play a little bit more than people give them credit for, there’s been some good recruitment over the last couple of years, they look more ready for the second tier now than they ever have done. But overall, they’re a physical team who will give you a good test.

Recent recruitment

There’s a new goalkeeper Jamal Blackman from Chelsea, he’s big, six-foot-seven. I’m not yet convinced he’s shown the bravery or decisiveness that goes with that kind of frame so the jury’s out on him, he’s got some work to do. His shot-stopping seems good, but I’d like to see more of him commanding his area.

They’ve got a new right-back Wes Harding from Birmingham, he looks good, big, strong, a powerful athlete and he fits the Rotherham mould. Angus MacDonald has come in from Hull, has Championship pedigree, not played a lot in the last 18 months but has just got into the side and as his fitness improves, he looks a solid signing.

Kieran Sadlier is a winger from Doncaster, standout performer in League 1, great feet, good technique. Bit of a wildcard is Mickel Miller, a winger they’ve got from Scotland. He’s quick and gets you up the pitch fast so I’m hoping for good things from him. They’ve got George Hirst in on loan from Leicester City too, he started at Birmingham and without doing a great deal, he just looked a player. There are really high hopes for him, I expect him to lead the line and start tomorrow.

You always need a bit of Championship knowhow, nothing beats that. But Rotherham have got a good approach going now, they know who they are and where they are. The idea is to sign young players, get two good years out of them, develop them, sell them on, take their money, wish them a good career and start the process again with other new players coming through.

The season so far

It’s been more about performances than points, but four points from three games is ok. The first game at Wycombe was like a League 1 game with a Championship tag, with both coming up last year and obviously Rotherham won that one late on. The Millwall and Birmingham games told us more. They lost unluckily to Millwall, a bad mistake at the back in that game saw them lose 1-0. They should have won at Birmingham, they were 1-0 up in the last minute and conceded a soft penalty.

Last time they were in this division, they had to play out of their skin and hope things went their way in the Championship. This time, they’ve gone toe-to-toe with two established Championship sides and lacked for nothing. There’s a lot of quality in the Championship and Rotherham will never say that they’re one of the better sides but they do look competitive and they do have some attributes that are going to cause teams a lot of problems.

Threat from set pieces

The set pieces are huge for them. Last season, they scored more goals from set pieces than any other side in League 1, or any side in English football. They’re big and they attack the ball, Dan Barlaser who should come back today was a key part of that, delivers a perfect dead ball every time. Rotherham realise that’s the best way of staying in the Championship and making their mark in the division, they won’t outplay that many sides, but they will be a huge threat at set pieces.

Key battles

I think Huddersfield have to defend set pieces well. Also, Rotherham have been strong at the back but maybe haven’t come up against someone with the quality of Fraizer Campbell. I can see that being a key battle, maybe if George Hirst steps up and does something at the other end too - I can see those two forward areas being quite important.

You can watch the full pundit’s preview below on #HTTV!


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