On the back of three straight defeats, Rotherham United must return to winning ways against relegation rivals Nottingham Forest on Tuesday…
Rotherham have lost three on the bounce since their third straight away win against Preston. The first was a narrow defeat to the resurgent Cardiff City under new boss Mick McCarthy.
There was no shame in that, as the Millers succumbed to a typical McCarthy influenced performance having missed chances to take a point.
They then were tasked with away trips to promotion chasers Bournemouth and Norwich. Paul Warne’s side lost each game 1-0, with their opponent’s added quality proving to be the difference.
Rotherham had opportunities themselves and on another day, they could have come away with something. With others winning around them, the Millers are now back in the relegation zone.
They will be desperate to return to winning ways, but it will be difficult against a Forest side who are on the back of a victory at the weekend. This came against Blackburn Rovers, as 18-year-old Alex Mighten netted the only goal.
Chris Hughton’s side have now won three of their last five Championship games to ease their relegation worries. They are in 17th and they are seven points above Rotherham in 22nd. The Millers do have two games in hand over Tuesday night’s opponents, though.
This is a massive game for both sides. The outcome will have implications on the fight to avoid the drop on not just themselves, but the teams around them as well…
POST-MATCH | "I was proud of the lads' spirit" – Warne.
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) February 20, 2021
Nottm Forest have had the better of meetings with the Millers overall, winning 50% of the games. Rotherham’s last win over Forest came in April 2019 at The New York Stadium.
Former Miller Lewis Grabban got on the scoresheet for the visitors, but goals in either half from Michael Smith and Michael Ihiekwe won it 2-1.
This was Rotherham’s first win over Forest for 63 years dating back to 1956. It was a high scoring game that day as the Millers won 3-2 at Milmoor in Division Two.
What is more positive for Rotherham is that Nottm Forest are yet to win at The New York Stadium. They have faced off at the NYS four times since 2014 (one RUFC win, three draws).
Paul Davis reported on Monday that Matt Crooks and Ben Wiles are doubts for Tuesday’s game. Speaking on the injuries after the Norwich loss, Warne said:
“Crooksy has been smashed on the ankle. Hopefully, he should be okay. Wilesy had a bit of a calf issue. Hopefully, he will be okay too. Everyone else is just exhausted.”
Kieran Sadlier had been out of action for three months after he suffered an ankle ligament injury in October. He made his return off the bench in a 15-minute cameo against Norwich. He is in line to feature again for the Millers in midweek.
Rotherham’s improved form prior to their recent defeats made the Championship table look an awful lot better for them.
Given the manner of the three losses, they should not lose too much confidence from them as there were still positives to take away. The Millers had no luck at the weekend, as near enough every result went against them.
Forest, Coventry, Huddersfield, QPR and Birmingham all picked up three points. The Blues beat Sheffield Wednesday which saw them overtake the Owls and Rotherham to move out of the bottom three.
— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) February 20, 2021
The Millers have fared well against teams around them in the table this season. These results have really boosted their survival hopes. The most recent examples of this were their victories over Derby, but they have also beaten Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe this campaign.
They will be keen for this to continue against Forest. But Hughton’s side have performed better of late, with Glenn Murray being a great addition for them up front.
Rotherham were quite fortunate to draw with Forest at the City Ground. Warne’s side are far stronger now than they were back then though.
The Millers will be tough to break down with the likes of Ihiekwe and Clark Robertson in good form. They really could do with Michael Smith and Crooks (if fit) firing on all cylinders. Lewis Wing and potentially Sadlier off the bench will also be key in their supporting roles.
A win here would be pivotal for Rotherham, especially after their recent dip. We do fancy Warne’s side to get the win, but if they do, it will no doubt come via some nail-biting moments. After all, the Millers rarely do things the easy way, do they…