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Ipswich Town 0 v 2 Rotherham United
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Keeping This Bunch Together Will Be Essential - Notes for Rotherham United
Monday, 22nd Nov 2021 15:00 by TomTheWriter

The quick turnover of games continues as Town host high-flying Rotherham United and TomTheWriter assesses the mood in the opposition camp.

After Town’s 2-0 defeat away to Sunderland at the weekend, the Blues turn their attentions to a side in a rich vein of form.

Rotherham United have started the season impressively, looking to bounce back from relegation last season.

So far in 2021/22, the Millers have picked up 10 wins, four draws and three defeats from their 17 matches, whilst also having a game in hand on top-of-the-table Plymouth Argyle.

Last year, Michael Smith led the line with his industrious style, Matt Crooks offered height and power from the middle with Richard Wood providing experience at the back.

Paul Warne

“Under [Paul] Warne, this is the most enjoyable season to watch so far. We are mixing it up with football going long and short, high and on the floor and wide and through the middle”, “Warne deserves a chance with a proper Championship club; a club that he hasn't got both hands tied behind his back trying to compete”, “He's cut his managerial teeth with us. Yes, it's been a rollercoaster ride of relegation/promotion but he's done very well for us of which we should be grateful of.”

Rotherham boss Warne has been in charge of the club since 2016, overseeing two promotions but also two relegations in his five years. He had spent the previous seven years with Rotherham, as a player for three years and then as part of the coaching set-up.

“Warne’s men made light work of a daunting-looking fixture list, collecting 13 points from five unbeaten games”, “The link between Warne and Norwich is nothing short of tenuous. He is from Norwich and supports them.. .end of!”, “I love Paul Warne, great bloke, great for the Millers and the town.”

Warne has proven his ability to perform to a high level in the third tier of English football, however he has struggled to take that into the next level. Another promotion looks to be on the cards this season, so it will be interesting to see how he would cope with another Championship campaign.

Immediate Relegation

“We can and will smash some teams next season and it's the feeling of here we go again, looking at a potential promotion, that will only bring heartache if we achieve it again”, “I realise, there's no guarantee we will bounce back every time, but perhaps this yo-yoing is the only way we can eventually establish ourselves at the next level, while still working within our sensible budget”, “Without a massive boost in our finances it was always going to be almost impossible to go from where we have been, to become an established Championship side.”

Last season, Rotherham found themselves once again fighting for survival in the second tier. After their automatic promotion the previous season, the Millers were looking to secure their status in the Championship.

“The last time we were relegated from the Championship, we made a profit. Just let that sink in for a while because it truly is a remarkable thing these days: a second tier English football club posted an operating profit”, “Saying we belong in League One is like telling a young lad born and bred in a council house in East Herringthorpe and working in a scrapyard that that's his level and where he belongs for the rest of his life”, “I've said League One is Warne’s level.”

However, they struggled to keep themselves afloat after promotion, finishing the 2020/21 season in 23rd place and seeing themselves fall back into League One.

The Squad

After their relegation from the Championship, Warne set about rebuilding his squad for another crack at promotion.

Midfielder Crooks departed for the Championship with Middlesbrough snapping him up for a seven-figure fee, Town having shown very strong interest. Full-back Matthew Olosunde swapped Rotherham for Preston North End on a free transfer.

Defenders Clark Robertson and Curtis Tilt found themselves in League One with Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic, with the latter leaving on the loan. Five players departed at the end of their loan deals.

Compared to the squad that ended the 2020/21 season, six of the starting XI remain from their final day 1-1 draw away to Cardiff City with seven of the bench still at the club.

Rotherham fans have found a lot to be positive about their squad this season. “Strength in depth, teamwork, squad moral”, “Squad fluidity and strength in depth. Quality in depth. Mostly”, “We had strength in depth in central defence.”

On the other hand, they have found a few things to be negative about. “The weakness for tomorrow lies in the front two”, “The club dropped a clanger this last season not getting at least a left-back”, “We need more in terms of quality on the ball and a clinical edge.”

Rotherham United 3-1 Cambridge United

“I thought we played well in all positions”, “That was a brilliant win under strong pressure from a good Cambridge side today”, “This is what we'll be getting week after week now because we're the team in form and we're fast becoming the team that the other teams want to beat.”

“Pleased for Freddie [Ladapo], great goal from him and very lively showing. Hope he goes from strength to strength”, “Some nice stuff from Cambridge but we were the better side and deserved to get the points”, “The substitutions swung the game back in our favour.”

Warne set his Rotherham side up in their familiar 3-5-2 formation, with Ladapo, Dan Barlaser and Ben Wiles scoring the goals in the 3-1 victory over Cambridge United.

Rotherham United 3-0 Bromley

“Avoided being the story of the first round, thank goodness”, “It was a good test against non-league opposition and in all fairness, they should have taken the lead, but for poor finishing and a good save from Viktor [Johansson]”, “Overall, a damp miserable day but a successful one on the pitch and roll on to the next round draw.”

“A good match to watch where there clearly was a big difference in quality but give Bromley credit, apart from that bad tackle they did try to win and not defend in numbers to get a draw. Good luck to them for the rest of the season”, “[Ben] Wiles stood out and that goal was a gem”, “We could easily have had more but no complaints and another clean sheet.”

Warne once again set up his side in the 3-5-2 variant for the FA Cup victory over Bromley, with Wiles, Ladapo and Will Grigg getting on the scoresheet.

Goalkeepers

“Didn't know much about their lad’s shot in first half but other than that excellent, comes and collects well”, “Johansson's handling was spot on”, “We can debate and have our own preference as to who we would pick (mine would be Viktor based upon last season's form).”


player imageViktor Johansson

Swedish goalkeeper Johansson joined Rotherham last season and was their first-choice goalkeeper as they attempted to survive in the Championship. Has recently fallen behind Josh Vickers.

player stats

“Vickers got the keeper’s shirt. Up to him to keep it”, “Their goal took a deflection off Wood before arrowing into the corner, Vickers had no chance”, “Their goal, was it blocked for Vickers to see? I hope so because that was a long-range shot he's been done by two games on the trot now.”

Vickers joined Rotherham United last season but didn’t feature for them with Johansson and Jamal Blackman ahead of him, but has recently been the first-choice.

Defenders

“Didn't put a foot wrong”, “Wood has to watch himself second half being on a yellow ref looks itching to book someone else”, “Wood can do a job but not two games in three days.”

player imageRichard Wood

Experienced defender Wood has been with the Millers since 2014 and is currently their club captain. Usually found in the centre of the three-man defence.

“[Rarmani Edmonds-Green] seems to get better each game, but I'd still rather have [Wes] Harding there”, “Edmonds-Green improves with each game”, “Edmonds-Green, don't know if he's deceptive but he doesn't always look comfortable in defence”,

Young defender Edmonds-Green arrived at the New York Stadium this season from Huddersfield on a season-long loan deal. Has been a consistent feature in the defence in the league this season.

“Angus [MacDonald] fit will definitely strengthen our back three, can play on the left of the three as well”, “Still here, he’s out and about but doesn’t look like he’ll be playing anytime soon.”

Part of Rotherham’s Championship business last season, MacDonald has been absent for the whole season with injury and is still some way off a return.

“[Joe] Mattock is fit again apparently so he could play if required… at least for the first 20 minutes or so”, “Add in Mattock for balance (if he can ever stay remotely healthy)”, “Mattock hasn't been same player since previous championship season.”

Former England U21 international Mattock has been with Rotherham for six years, nailing down the left-back spot in his time with the club. However, he has missed the last six games.

“[Tolaji] Bola looks more a left-back or left wing-back to me”, “Bola did well when he came on playing a wing-back role, where he had a lot of the ball and sent some very good crosses over”, “Sounds like Bola is very involved going forward.”

Another summer signing in the defence, Bola left Arsenal’s academy for first-team football with Rotherham United. The young defender spent part of last season with Rochdale, but has found game-time limited this season.

Full-Back

“Harding much as I like him has cost us at least five goals. I’m not having a pop as he’s a good player but sometimes think his versatility works against him”, “Harding should be on the right”, “Nowt against him as he’s been great but his best position is right-back/wing-back.”

Jamaican international Harding joined Rotherham last season from Birmingham and has been one of their strongest defenders for the past year. His versatility sees him cover multiple positions in Warne’s 3-5-2.

player stats

“Harding asleep there as the striker nips past him”, “Harding, he's our player and better than [Edmonds-Green] on the right”, “Harding should be on the right of the back three but he's best we've got to cover on the left.”

Usually found in the defence, but playing at right midfield at times both this season and last year, Harding has started the last six league games.

Centre-Back

“A few errors but lad is out of position”, “Crazy playing [Michael] Ihiekwe on the left. Saturday playing central he was comfortable”, “Ihiekwe a lot more comfortable playing central.”

Another member of last season’s relegation side, Ihiekwe joined the Millers in 2017. Was a key member of the defence last season and is one of a strong quartet of options to play at centre-back.

player stats

“Classy headed goal by Ihiekwe”, “If Ihiekwe is happier playing central of a back three won't be a disadvantage playing him there instead of Wood”, “Got to sort left side of back three out, would sooner have Harding there than Ihiekwe though I know it's not ideal.”

One of the concerns for Rotherham fans has been their left centre-back position for the season with no defender able to nail it down just yet. Ihiekwe, Harding and Edmonds-Green have all been trialed so far.

Midfielders

“Silly mistake for their goal but no one was angrier than him about it and [he was] brilliant otherwise”, “Agree with the general consensus [Dan] Barlaser as man of the match, quick into tackle, spraying the ball round as well to great effect as usual”, “I’m sure he is getting himself more time on the ball nowadays.”

player imageDaniel Barlaser

Signed last season after leaving Newcastle following a loan spell the previous season, Barlaser has been a key man in the midfield for the Millers so far during this campaign, missing only two games so far.

“What a player, has everything for me one of the best signings we've made, wish he hadn't made that pointless tackle to get booked”, “Saving [Oli] Rathbone for the Ipswich game”, “We kept the ball really well today and probed all game especially Rathbone who, as usual, never stopped running.”

One of a few players picked up this season, Rathbone departed Rochdale after their relegation to join Rotherham. Another, like Barlaser, who has been involved heavily during 2021/22, missing only three games.

“[Jamie] Lindsay broke up their play”, “Then there's Lindsay champing at the bit to be involved across midfield”, “I felt for Lindsay, he gave us real bite in the middle, him and Rathbone doing the leg work allowed Barlaser (not his best game either) to play and spread the ball around.”

Former Scotland U16, U17 and U19 international Lindsay has been a regular in the midfield for two years. Started the season in good form, but hasn’t featured in 10 games.

“[Shane] Ferguson should have scored”, “Ferguson crossing were abysmal today or it could truly have been a cricket score”, “He can beat a man, something Ferguson can't do but can [Mickel] Miller show consistency?”

Picked up from Millwall in the summer, Northern Irish international Ferguson has shown his versatility at both left midfield and in the middle of the park. Missed a chunk of game-time in the middle of the current campaign, but has played in the last four.

“Give [Hakeem] Odoffin a game”, “Odoffin on the periphery but still getting valuable cup minutes and [providing] support off the bench as and when required”, “Expected a bit more from Odoffin but maybe my expectations are out of touch with reality.”

Another summer signing in the midfield, Odoffin was snapped up from Scottish side Hamilton Academical. Odoffin led the way in Europe for interceptions last season, but has struggled to displace the midfield options ahead of him.

“Playing [Kieran] Sadlier in midfield put extra pressure on our defence”, “I think Sads is a very skilful footballer. In the warm-ups, shooting, free-kicks and in some passages of his play he’s very good”, “Not the finished article by any means but with some more coaching and encouragement from the management team I think he could become a key asset for us.”

One-time Irish U21 international Sadlier joined Rotherham last season after their promotion to the Championship, following an excellent spell with Doncaster Rovers in the third tier. Struggled for games last season, but has picked his form back up this year.

“Ogbene draws three players that's how good he is”, “It took Chiedozie Ogbene 20 minutes to adapt to the speed that Portugal played at. You don't see that in League One. Once he adjusted, Ogbene began to make runs in behind the defence. He was always available for long balls when Portugal pressed high upfield”, “He will definitely go at some point.”

Irish international Ogbene joined the Millers two years ago from Brentford, having had a spell on trial with the Blues prior to signing for the Bees. Missed a lot of last season through injury, but has been one of Rotherham’s strongest wide options this season.

Winger

“Miller’s excellent cross for the third and he caused them problems”, “Agree about substitutions, they were spot on and helped push Cambridge back when we were having a dodgy spell with the pace of Miller”, “Come on Miller and Millers. Let's not give this away.”

After spending last season out on loan with Northampton Town, Miller returns to the Millers looking to make up for lost time. Has two goals to his name already this season.

player stats

“Glad to see him back as an option. Did what he needed to do well, thought he ought to have took them on a bit earlier on”, “Miller has been having injections so why not rest him?”, “Play Miller wide.”

Usually seen coming off the bench due to the options around him, Miller has found game-time limited this season. Scored the opener against Charlton a few weeks back, but hasn’t been seen in the last two games.

Centre Midfielder

“Bad pass from Wiles”, “The non-contributing Wiles does it where it matters!”, “I truly believe that Ben Wiles will play Premier League football in the next few years.”

Academy graduate Wiles progressed into the first team in 2017 with a year-long loan with Frickley Athletic the only time he has been away from the club. Scored against Cambridge on Saturday.

player stats

“Was a real thorn in their side today, that's why they rough-housed him. Still prone to giving silly passes away, but ran at them brilliantly”, “Wiles switches off again”, “Great result in missing two key players and Wiles strangely out of sorts.”

Alongside Barlaser and Rathbone, he has been a key member of their midfield unit this season, currently on a run of two goals in two games. Aggressive on the ball, Wiles will be a tough test for the Ipswich midfield.

Attack

“Special mention for him as I've given him stick for not putting enough in. But he did today, well done Freddie”, “Perhaps go Grigg and Ladapo from the off to try build some chemistry for the next league game?”, “I can’t see a Championship club coming in for Ladapo.”

player imageFreddie Ladapo

With eight goals to his name this season, Ladapo is Rotherham’s second top goalscorer behind Smith. Was in fine form last season in the Championship, and has carried that through into League One.

“Quieter game today but got stuck in and showed his class and commitment”, “Grigg doesn’t seem to work with Ladapo”, “Poor from Grigg, he should've buried that chance.”

One of two loanees at Rotherham this season, Grigg switched Sunderland for the Millers in the summer. Has six goals to his name and adds some strength in depth to the attacking options.

“Once [Josh] Kayode adds goals to his game he is gonna be one hell of a player”, “JJ was great in pressuring the defence and making a nuisance of himself but his squandered chance shows he still lacks confidence”, “ I just can't see him scoring but hope he rams those words down my gullet.”

Young striker Kayode spent last season with Carlisle United, grabbing seven goals in their attack. Has featured mainly off the bench this season and is still looking for his first goal of the campaign.

Striker

“Immense, we need to try to keep him here and happy”, “Smudge is absolutely nailed on to start, we all know why”, “We won a lot more headers up front than I thought with Smith missing as well.”

Number one striker Smith has been in a rich vein of form this year, currently sitting on 12 goals for the season, one ahead of Macauley Bonne, and is the division’s joint-top scorer alongside Morecambe’s Cole Stockton. Was heavily linked with a Championship move this summer, but nothing came of it.

player stats

“Isn't Smith suspended for this one?”, “We progress, somebody like Smith gets injured, then there's an outcry about meaningless tournaments”, “Smith will now miss the Cambridge game.”

Missed the Cambridge game due to suspension, but should be back for the Ipswich match on Tuesday night. Will be a tough test for the defence all game long.

Rotherham United Fans on ITFC

“They have some good players but once seen you'll soon realise they aren't anything special, hence the league position”, “Ipswich and Oxford away in the same week will be a good test”, “I mentioned that Ipswich were a team to keep an eye on the other week. Paul Cook seems to have got them into the formation he wanted and it's starting to pay dividends for him. So long as we focus on what we are doing, and very well at that at the moment, we should be okay for a top-six finish minimum.”

Expectation

“A few of our players must certainly be drawing attention from elsewhere and I think keeping this bunch together will be essential if we're to push for winning the league/automatic promotion”, “We need this if we're serious about promotion”, “Your wish will not come true, you might have to put up with another promotion under Mr Warne.”

Websites

The main forum for a Rotherham United fan is the Millers Mad Forum, a comprehensive and extensive area for all Rotherham fans to dive into.


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ThaiBlue added 19:33 - Nov 22
Sorry to say we aint good enough,2 many stop start performances.2- 0 to rotherham hope im so wrong.
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churchmans added 17:13 - Nov 23
Only if Rotherham set up and play like oxford! Other than that of we should blow them away! If we cant do that then we won't make playoffs! Our players are giving it the biggun in interviews! Thet got to start showing us
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