After two weeks without a game, Covid-hit Rotherham United are back in action on Tuesday night against promotion-chasing Watford.
It feels like an eternity since the Millers’ last game, doesn’t it? Their latest outing was on 3 March against relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
10-man Rotherham had been the better side but it looked like they would have to settle for a point until late drama ensued at Hillsborough. Freddie Ladapo wrote his name into club folklore with an incredible last-minute winner. Before you ask, no I am not getting tired of talking about that goal yet!
Paul Warne and his players would have loved to build momentum from this history-making victory, but Covid has sadly got in the way. The South Yorkshire outfit have been forced to call off three games as a result of an outbreak in their camp.
It is a boost for the Millers that during this time, teams around them have stuttered. Despite being in the bottom three, they have three/four games in hand over everyone around them so they are still in a decent position.
Rotherham do not have the easiest of games in their first back. They host Watford who are right in the mix for promotion to the Premier League.
The Hornets are in a superb run of form as well. They have won all-but-one of their last eight Championship games. Their only defeat over this stretch came at the hands of AFC Bournemouth in a game that was overshadowed by a mass brawl between both sets of players.
This run places them second in the table on goal difference with eight games to go. They sit level with Swansea City, while Brentford are three points behind. Both of their rivals have a game in hand, though.
Watford will see this midweek trip to Rotherham as an ideal game to pick up more points, especially given their opponent’s lack of preparation. The Millers will certainly make it awkward for their high-flying visitors, however…
READ | Warne undergoing period of self-isolation as Roundwood training base reopens following Covid outbreak.
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) March 15, 2021
Warne’s side do not have the best record against Watford. They have won 50% of their meetings with the Millers (13).
You have to go back to the 2002/03 campaign for Rotherham’s last win over the Hornets. They did the double over them that season, winning 2-1 both at Milmoor and at Vicarage Road. In the home tie, Martin McIntosh and Richie Barker scored for the hosts.
Watford have won five of their last seven games against Rotherham (W5, D2). Their only meeting at The New York Stadium finished 2-0 thanks to goals from Lloyd Dyer and Gianni Munari.
Xisco Munoz’s men also won 2-0 when the sides met earlier this term. Efforts in the opening 15 minutes from Christian Kabasele and Troy Deeney earned them all three points.
Well, this is anyone’s guess…
If any fans correctly guess the Rotherham starting XI they better also make sure that they put the EuroMillions on before Friday… age permitting, of course!
How will this layoff affect Rotherham?
The lead up to this game feels like deja vu compared to their derby against Barnsley in December. There are slight differences though, as the Millers arguably had to return to action sooner than they should have against their local rivals.
Looking on from the outside, it appears like Rotherham have been afforded an appropriate amount of time to recover by the EFL this time around. Fingers crossed those who had Covid have not been affected too badly so they are okay to play a part on Tuesday.
If we go off the basis that barring any injuries, Warne has a full squad to choose from, there are still a lot of problems to contend with.
Given that they have not been able to train properly for around two weeks, match sharpness will surely be a big factor against Watford.
Like the Hornets, Barnsley were in good form when they faced Rotherham. But Warne’s men grew into that game and they were a little unlucky to come away with nothing.
You hope this is also the case against Watford and that despite the obstacles against them, they can give a good account of themselves.
Luckily for Rotherham, there is very little – if any – pressure on them for this game. This is not one of their games in hand and they are playing one of the in-form teams in the division.
When you look at it on paper, there is no way that the Millers should come away with anything. Watford should take a narrow victory here, but Rotherham will make a game of it and that’s all fans can really ask for from this one.