Rotherham fan Rick Potts give us an overview of The Millers ahead of their trip to the bet365 on Saturday.
How would you assess your season so far?
Very, very challenging – but overall – bloody good! Personally, I think we’ve done really well without getting the rub of the green – I know a couple of times we’ve been lucky to get a point (being played off the park for a 1-1 v Middlesbrough) but there were 3 or 4 times we were unlucky not to get the win. Those 6 or 9 points would make me a lot less nervy going into the final few weeks! But what’s more important to me is that this season we’ve tried to play good attacking football and played as a TEAM with a plan – right up to the final whistle.
It’s very tight down the bottom, if you are to stay up, what will be the main reason why?
Paul Warne and the mentality that he has brought to the club, the players and the fans – the team clearly play for each other and the manager. The number of last-minute goals is a reflection of that 100% effort for 100% of the time.
It comes from the manager.
You were 21st twice before being relegated in 2017, then you went up last season. What will it take for Rotherham to push beyond Championship relegation battles?
Back in the heady days of Ronnie Moore’s back to back heroics in 2001, we had – for a couple of years – mid-table finishes. It always felt that was the peak of our actual abilities. Keeping at that 12th – 14th spot was always going to be tough…mid table mediocrity doesn’t always excite the fans. But we were undone by events off the field as much as unsustainable performances. It is a truism that it takes time and/or money to get a foothold in this league. If you survive year 1, year 2 is easier – as long as you have good foundations at the club. And between Tony Stewart and Paul Warne – and backroom staff that know what a good, winning team looks (and feels) like – I think we have.
What players should we watch out for, and is there anyone you’re wary of on the Stoke side?
For the millers – Ajayi, Vaulks and Smithy. When Stoke came to Rotherham, Afobe and Pieters caught the eye – but I was always worried about Joe Allen!
Paul Warne’s been there a while, how do the fans feel about him?
Held in (almost) the same esteem that Ronnie Moore was. There are ex Rotherham players we hold very dear – and Warne is one of them. To see him take the reins after about 5 years in the backroom and succeed – and be clear many, many fans are realistic…and value good football, passion, skill as highly as results – (especially with the “just a fitness coach” tag) is great to see. And whether we are in the Champo or division 1 next year, I don’t expect that feeling toward him to change.
Prediction for Saturday?
You don’t win a playoff chasing team 2-1 without getting a massive boost to confidence – and we have even managed to win an away game once! (Having said that its Villa tonight – braced for impact!) But I think 1-1 is the most likely