Behind Enemy Lines: Rotherham United

MILLWALL are looking to right the wrongs of Wednesday’s Hillsborough defeat when they head to Rotherham for an early 12.30pm kick-off on Sunday.

The last meeting between these two sides saw Rotherham run out 2-1 winners, in the 2014-15 season when the Lions were relegated from the Championship.

The Millers were promoted through the play-offs last season, another achievement manager Paul Warne shares with Neil Harris after both also represented their clubs as players with distinction.

Tom Bradshaw could make his first Millwall appearance after signing from Barnsley on Thursday, but the other recent signing, midfielder Jem Karacan, is short of match fitness.

Lucas Ball spoke to Rotherham fan Rob Scanlon this week.

Twitter: @RobScanlon_TV

Why do you support Rotherham?

I was born in Bristol and raised in Somerset but my dad is from Rotherham and quickly brainwashed me. I’m glad he did, though, it’s a brilliant club and I’ve enjoyed so many high points following them with him.

My daughter supports them now and my son will have little choice as well when he’s older!

What’s been your favourite season following the Millers?

Winning a second successive promotion under Ronnie Moore in 2000-01. I was there when Alan Lee scored the winning goal at Millmoor to beat Brentford in the 90th minute of the penultimate game to get us into the Championship – it was an incredible finish.

We had an excellent squad at that point, loads of strong characters and a few local players too. Lee was a great find by Ronnie and enjoyed an excellent career, Paul Warne was an invaluable worker, Mark Robins was deadly. Guy Branston at the back was just nuts, would head anything/anyone and Kevin Watson was the creative force.

I was 15/16 during that season and used to get the train up to watch them when I could. I also travelled on the Bristol City and Bristol Rovers away supporters’ coaches to go to our home games against them too – in neutral clothing obviously!

Is Paul Warne the right man for the job?

One hundred per cent. I am biased, though – he was my favourite player growing up because he gave everything in every match I saw him play.

As a manager, he is intelligent, articulate and self-deprecating. A class act. He’s also someone who took over a disjointed squad, rebuilt and got us promoted in his first full season as a manager.

I hope he’s in charge for a long, long time.

How would you assess the summer window for Rotherham? Any more additions needed?

Fairly quiet and Warne has largely kept faith with the side that got us promoted. Getting goalkeeper Marek Rodák back from Fulham was the major positive and I think all Rotherham fans still hope Richie Towell, who was excellent on loan last season, will re-join from Brighton.

Jamie Proctor missed a lot of last year with injury and he’s already scored three this season so that’s been a big lift.

We haven’t got loads to spend and I wouldn’t want us to spend beyond our means. The money in the Championship now is incredible and we can’t compete with that.

Millwall’s unbeaten start came to an end on Wednesday. Would you be hopeful that will affect them going into Sunday’s game?

Well you’ve already lost once in South Yorkshire this week so why not make it a double?

I think Millwall are really dangerous, though, and if anything, the defeat to Wednesday will make you more of a threat because Neil Harris will want a reaction. Your away form has been pretty sensational since the start of 2018, so if we can win it would be a great result.

Who will be the Millers’ key men on Sunday?

I wouldn’t say we have any big star names but Proctor came on and scored in the defeat to Hull so he looks like he’s making up for lost time.

I really like Will Vaulks as a player and apparently he’s a great character off the pitch so I think he’ll be out to make up for Hull and get stuck in.

Joe Newell, if he starts, can be a very fluent player when he’s confident.

Which Millwall players do you expect to pose a threat?

I would imagine Lee Gregory will fancy scoring, given his chequered history with us.

Steve Evans, the shrinking violet, gave him a send-off after we escaped relegation and sent Millwall down [in 2015]. We then tried to sign Gregory the year after but it didn’t happen. So I can picture him scoring and cupping his ear to our fans on Sunday – that has an inevitable feel to it.

What do you think of Millwall manager Neil Harris?

Clearly he’s done an excellent job and, like our manager, has a really strong connection with his club. That means a lot.

If you could pick one Lions player to move to your team, who would it be and why?

Probably Gregory because he might get an extra lift being back near his native Sheffield and could score the goals to get us safe.

I used to work at Newcastle United and I’m pleased to see how Shane Ferguson has established himself at Millwall because he was a really good lad and a committed player. So he’s more than welcome too!

What’s your expected Rotherham starting XI and formation?

I think Proctor has to come in, given his goal in midweek, so Warne could switch to two up front and match up with Millwall.

There has been a lot of talk about formations in his pre-match press conference because we’ve been playing Michael Smith on his own up top so far. Joe Newell may well start too.



Vyner, Ajeyi, Wood, Mattock

J Taylor, Vaulks, Manning, Newell

Proctor, Vassell

Finally, what’s your score prediction?

Rotherham 1-1 Millwall – Proctor and Gregory (with celebration).

Graphic: @jay_taylor18