Rotherham United: “No more excuses” says Millers captain Stephen Kelly

Stephen Kelly
Stephen Kelly

Stand-in skipper Stephen Kelly says the time has come for Rotherham United’s players to stop making excuses.

Kelly and his teammates have spent pre-season and the first month of their Championship campaign adapting to a more expansive style of play under new manager Alan Stubbs.

Dexter Blackstock

Dexter Blackstock

The full-back, who has been wearing the armband in the injury absence of Lee Frecklington, says the squad have now had enough time to take on board the boss’s ideas.

“It’s a new team, new players, but we are working hard together on the training ground and we should be seeing the rewards of that now.

“I don’t think we’re not comfortable with the new style of play. I think we’re doing the right things, but at times making the wrong decisions. I think it will come. But you can make excuses for only so long.

The Millers have won one and drawn one of their two league games at home, but have lost all three of their away matches and sit in the division’s bottom three.

Stubbs has brought in 12 new players since taking the hot-seat and is hoping to add free-agent strikers to his options in the near future now that the transfer window has closed.

Dexter Blackstock, who has just ended his association with Nottingham Forest, is a target, althought it it thought two other second-tier clubs have shown interest in the 30-year-old frontman.

Stubbs’ side are halfway through the two-week international break, having signed off with a 4-0 derby-day defeat at Barnsley. Their other August fixtures away from home brought 3-0 reverses at Aston Villa and Brighton.

“It’s not good enough, said Kelly, “As professional players, we want to improve this team and take the steps to move it forward.

“Conceding those goals away from home is not going in the right direction.”

Stubbs, who added Middlesbrough’s highly-rated teenage centre-half, Dael Fry, to his ranks on last Wednesday’s deadline day, is confident the Millers will starting climbing the table as his new signings gel.

Kelly says Rotherham have contributed to their own downfall on the road by losing their defensive discipline.

“At home, we had a great result when we beat Brentford, and in the draw against Wolves we played very well as well,” he said.

“But we need to have a mentality away from home that will allow us to come away with a result. We can’t, every time we go 1-0 or 2-0 down, go chasing the game and leave ourselves so exposed.

“That’s not the way to be. We’re working hard on that. The second half at Barnsley is not the way the manager wants us to play. He want us to be compact and tight and break in numbers but still have a solid shape about us.”

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