Rotherham United Analysis and Opinion

Rotherham United will be looking to exorcise some demons when they host Brentford this weekend. Paul Warne saw the Bees thrash his side 5-1 on the opening day of the season, a harsh reminder of how tough life would be in the Championship.

“I got the selection wrong”

A lot has changed since that defeat, according to the Millers’ manager. His side go into the clash on Saturday six points behind the Bees, a stat that Warne wouldn’t have believed five months ago.

Warne said:

“We had the euphoria of the summer and the Brentford game came on quite quick.
“I got the selection wrong. I set out with two up front and realistically we can’t compete in this league with two up top.
“Over the course of the season, we’ve learnt how to stay in games. Without a shadow of a doubt, we have a much better understanding of the opposition.
“They’ve got a better understanding of each other and more belief in each other. So we turn up for the Brentford game on Saturday with a real confidence we can compete.
“If you’d have asked me after the Brentford game, I probably wouldn’t have believed we’d only be six points off them at this stage and I think that’s credit to the lads.”

Millers out for revenge? 

Revenge won’t be on the players’ mind on Saturday, according to Warne. His players openly admitted after the game they were beaten by the better side so the need for revenge won’t come into it.

He said:

“If it would have been a 5-1 drubbing and they were doing nutmegs and showboating, I think the lads would have taken massive disrespect from it.

“A lot of games have gone since then. We’re both different teams now, not just in terms of personnel but psychologically.  

“But no, I don’t think the lads will see it as vengeance. They openly admitted they were beaten by the better team on the day so I don’t think they’ll think like that.”

Brentford back to their best?

Paul Warne went on to tip Brentford for automatic promotion after their victory over his side, but the Bees have failed to maintain their early season form.

Thomas Frank’s side sit 17th in the Championship table, eight points clear of the relegation places. The Bees occupied a play-off spot as recently as October but have slipped down the standings since, winning just 4 of their last 16 games.

Warne believes there are a number of reasons why the Bees haven’t hit the heights he expected them too. Despite this, he now feels they’re rediscovering their best form.

He said:

“Their home form is unbelievable and they do everything right. They even have a full-time set-piece coach.
“They have everything in place to be great. I think they’ve got an amazing squad and like I said, they play really well at home.
“This is no fault of Dean (Smith), but I think it really affected the group when all the rumours started about him leaving (to manage Aston Villa).
“I think when you look at their results through that period it was probably the worst run they’ve been on and maybe they just lost their way a little bit.
“When you win every week your confidence is through the roof and you feel bulletproof, but if you lose two, your confidence quickly goes.
“In this league, if you lose back-to-back you begin to struggle. The league is tough for Brentford as it is us, we’re all playing the same formidable teams.
“I watched the Stoke game and they looked back to their best.”

Team news

The Millers will be without Joe Newell and Kyle Vassell this weekend. The pair are both suffering with groin injuries. A decision is expected in the next few days on whether they need surgery.

On the duo, Warne said:

“Vass (Kyle Vassell) is back in training but still sore. He’s trained better today, whether it’s too early for him to be involved on Saturday, I don’t know.
“He’s going in the right direction but if he’s still in pain on Friday, we might have to look at some sort of intervention. That could leave him out for a few weeks.
“Joe Newell has a groin problem, he’s seeing a specialist on Monday. Regrettably, he hasn’t got any better so he’s going to be out for a month.”

Midfielder Richie Towell is back in contention after serving his suspension. New signing Matt Crookes will join him in Saturday’s squad.