Comeback kings Rotherham United face another tough test of their Championship safety credentials when they travel to Ipswich Town tomorrow.
The visit to Portman Road, one of my most hated journeys at this level for it’s sheer cross-country awkwardness, arrives on the back of last week’s astonishing events at New York Stadium.
The final seven minutes plus stoppage time that saw the Millers defy the odds and overturn a three-goal deficit against promotion hopefuls Derby will live long in many supporters’ memories and sits among the great Rotherham revivals. I certainly can’t remember one as exciting, or surprising, and it’s cheered me up no end after a severe bout of the man flu this week!
Should we really be surprised, though? The spirit among Neil Warnock’s men seems to be at its peak, something which was touched on by two-goal hero Leon Best this week when speaking to the Star’s Paul Davis.
Best is one of a few players brought in by a previous manager who has been given a confidence boost after his return to fitness.
Several Millers players have said in the media that dressing-room spirit is high following a 10-point return from a possible 12, and Warnock will be making plans to contain someone who knows a thing or two about said camaraderie and togetherness.
Ben Pringle, currently on loan with Mick McCarthy’s men from Fulham, could face his old club tomorrow for the third time. The Geordie made a scoring return to NYS with his parent club earlier this season, and, if selected, could be a danger to Rotherham’s recent good record.
With Daryl Murphy also back among the goals for the hosts, I’d expect to see a change to the Rotherham backline from last weekend. I think it’s safe to say Danny Collins looked a little rusty, and Warnock could look at other options if Richard Wood isn’t passed fit.
What has frustrated me as a fan of late is the fact we’ve had such a good run of results, unexpectedly so, yet those around us are finding extra reserves to dig a bit deeper too. While we’ve done superbly to get back in touch, we just can’t get our heads above that survival line at the moment. The main thing, though, is the belief appears to be back among the players.
Teams at the top seem to be struggling as the pressure ramps up at both ends of the table. I’ll be watching tonight’s Middlesbrough v Hull match on TV with keen interest.
If we can pick up a good result this weekend going into the international break, during which I’ll be in Germany on my next England venture, then you can’t look far from Neil Warnock for Manager of the Month.
Nine cup finals to go ...