Rotherham United: Second half kicks off in survival scrap
Eight games down, eight to go.
Manager Neil Warnock is halfway through his mission to save Rotherham United from the Championship drop.
One thing is certain: If the Millers accrue as many points in the survival run-in as they have since he assumed control in February, they will still be gracing the second tier next season.
The 67-year-old’s first eight matches have brought 14 points, enough to give Rotherham a final tally of 53 if the process is repeated between now and May 7. And, as everyone knows, 50 is pretty much a guarantee of safety.
The Millers are on a run of four wins and a draw in their last five fixtures and are looking to add Leeds United, managed by former boss Steve Evans, to their list of scalps, at a sold-out AESSEAL New York Stadium tomorrow.
“It’s another massive game,” said skipper Kirk Broadfoot, after victories over Brentford, Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town and a draw with Derby County. “It’s a game I’m looking forward to.”
Having seen off a bunch of promotion contenders in March, Rotherham have seven games in April, none of which are against sides harbouring ambitions of going up.
Their only remaining clash with a team currently in the top six comes at Hull City on the last day of the season.
The Leeds showdown is followed by trips to survival rivals Bristol City on Tuesday and MK Dons next Saturday, and the Millers are well aware how a victory over Evans’ midtable side would have them flying going into that crucial double-header.
“It’s a massive couple of weeks,” Broadfoot added. “April is a big month for us. I’m sure if we keep going as we have been doing we’ll be fine.”
Warnock gave his squad a long weekend off to rest and recuperate during the international break, and the word from centre-half Richard Wood is that training has been sharper than ever this week.
Rotherham’s transformation under Warnock has been nothing short of amazing, and they have leapfrogged MK Dons and Fulham to move up to 20th spot, a point clear of the Cottagers and two in front of MK who occupy the final relegation spot.
Charlton, in 23rd place, and bottom club Bolton are seven and 13 points adrift of the Millers respectively.
The manager is quick to hand the credit to his squad of triers who, he says, are giving everything they have to the fight for safety.
“I hope me being here gives us an edge,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s what your players do for you.”
MK Dons (22nd):
Sheff Wed a
MK Dons h
Bristol C a
MK Dons a
Bristol C (19th):
Sheff Wed h