Rotherham United Analysis and Opinion

Paul Warne takes his side to the Riverside tonight looking to defy the odds and re-write recent history.

Their opponents Middlesbrough sit top of the table, whilst the Millers’ poor form on the road has been well documented.

Team news 

Rotherham United duo Richard Wood and Ryan Manning should be fit to face Boro tonight.

However, right-back Billy Jones is a major doubt for the clash at the Riverside with a hamstring strain.

Jon Taylor is rated 50/50.

On his team news, Warne said:

“Woody’s calves were tightening up during the Bolton game. He hadn’t played for a few weeks. He’s fit for tomorrow night
“Ryan Manning should be fine for inclusion. That’s positive news.
“Jonesy (Billy Jones) felt his hammy after 20 minutes, we have a low-risk policy at this club. If they’re not feeling right, they come off.
“There’s no point him ripping off his hamstring and being out for six weeks. I think Middlesbrough is 24 hours too soon for him. On the physio bed, he has got no symptoms. It’s just a risk. I don’t think he will be available.
“Tayls (Jon Taylor) is 50:50. He’s pain-free and the swelling has gone down in his knee, but Tayls is one of those players who if he plays has to be 10 out of 10 physically because his game is all about energy.
“I’m hopeful about him, but I won’t be sure until I speak to the physios about him in the morning.”

“We’re the underdogs”

Paul Warne insists there is no pressure on his side when they take on Middlesbrough tonight.

Tony Pulis’ side have enjoyed a strong start to the season, living up to their tag as pre-season favourites.

Boro went top of the table after they beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Friday, remarkably they were the only side in the top six not to lose. 

If you’re a Rotherham fan looking for encouragement for tomorrow, I’m afraid you aren’t going to find it here.

The Millers have lost 29 of their last 31 Championship away games, a run stretching back all the way to a 4-0 win at MK Dons on 9th April 2016.

Their record on a Tuesday night away in the Championship is just as poor as their current away form.

Rotherham have gone 30 games without an away win on a Tuesday night in the Championship.

This barren run includes 5 draws and a whopping 25 defeats. Their last away win on a Tuesday at this level was on the 17th September 2002, where a Darren Byfield brace fired the Millers to a 4-3 win at Walsall. 

If the Millers are to have any hope of getting something out of tonight’s clash, it is crucial they don’t concede the first goal.

Middlesbrough are unbeaten iin the last 68 Championship games they’ve taken the lead, winning 61 and drawing 7. 

So how will Warne approach tonight’s game?

He said:

“I approach it with a smile on my face obviously. We approach all the games the same.
“Middlesbrough are doing really well, they are top of the league. We watched them on Friday night at Hillsborough and they are a really good team.
“They’ve got a bit of everything, haven’t they? You’re not going to be top of the Championship after 13 games without having qualities.
“We set the lads out how we want them to play and if they take it to the letter like they normally do we can be competitive.
“Hopefully, with a lucky bounce here or there, we might upset a few.
“Middlesbrough is a tough place to go and get a result but why not? Our away points total can’t get any worse after tomorrow night.”
“The lads can go into this game with no pressure and no fear, we’re the underdogs.”

“You’ve got to spend it wisely”

Middlesbrough have invested heavily this summer in an attempt to return to the Premier League.

Tony Pulis has brought in the likes of Aden Flint, George Saville and Paddy McNair to bolster his side’s ranks.

The Millers, on the other hand, were the only side in the league to not spend a single penny on transfer fees during the window.

Despite Middlesbrough’s healthy budget, Warne feels money can only take you so far.

He said:

“Money gets you options in life. If my wages get doubled my life doesn’t change. I might get a better holiday and a better house but actually, my life is the same, my friends are the same, my wife still looks the same she just has nicer heels on.
“This is the same with a football team. If you give me £50 million I’d still buy the same type of players but just better versions. I’d still treat people the same and play the same.
“You’ve still got to spend it wisely and get the right characters in the dressing room.
“The signings he’s made have been brilliant. It’s not the hardest job in the world to spend money, but it’s still a talent nonetheless.”