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My Favourite ALL-TIME Rotherham United XI

I examine my favourite ever Rotherham United starting line-up, after watching the Millers since 1997. Perhaps you’ll be surprised…

GK – Lee Camp

Rotherham United’s player of the season 2015/16 has to be my choice ‘keeper between the sticks. (Andy Warrington was a very close second). The current Cardiff City shot stopper played a crucial role in maintaining the Millers’ Championship status during his time at the club. It was also great to see a player show a great amount of passion, as Camp would often rally up supporters behind the Millers goal. I will always remember replicating the chant ‘Campy what’s the score’ that was sung by the Derby supporters initially, until at the end of the game when we came back late on and ended up drawing 3-3. This was much to the delight of Camp who seemingly isn’t looked at particularly fondly by those set of fans.

LB – Joe Skarz

Full-back Joe Skarz joined the Millers in May 2013 from Bury after spending a loan deal with Rotherham the season prior. The 28 year-old helped the Millers to promotion twice under Steve Evans, most notably playing a key role in the 2013/14 campaign which saw the Millers promoted to the Championship. Whilst he wasn’t perhaps the most technically gifted full-back, I particularly liked the dependability the Yorkshire-born defender possessed. Skarz currently plays for Bury.

CB – Ryan Cresswell

Rotherham-born Ryan Cresswell was one of my favourite players when I was younger. I remember feeling particularly disappointed when we moved to The New York Stadium and new manager Steve Evans deemed the 6ft 1 defender as surplus to requirements. I liked the no nonsense nature of his defending and the fact he was a local boy probably played into my favouritism. The 29 year-old now plays for National League side Eastleigh FC.

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CB – Kari Arnason

Kari Arnason is probably one of the classiest players I’ve seen wear a Millers shirt. His partnership with fellow defender Craig Morgan was immense. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a more versatile central defender. The Icelandic International’s composure was superb both when he stayed in his native defensive position and when the 35 year-old would push forward. Now Rotherham fans tend to disagree on a lot of things, but there was a unified sense of sadness from all supporters when he left the club to play Champions League football with Swedish side Malmö FF. I can only compare such a sadness to dropping a bucket of KFC on the floor…

RB – James Tavernier

He left you wondering whether he was in fact an attacker instead of a defender. The right-back who was on loan at Rotherham from Newcastle United at the time became a crucial part of Steve Evans’ side. I don’t think there was a better full-back in the league. The man produced some terrific free-kicks, had a stinger of a shot, left opponents on their arse with mazy runs in addition to being fantastic in his defensive duties. He had it all. The 26 year-old currently plays for Scottish side Rangers.

LM – Ben Pringle

“That man Ben Pringle, he loves killing pigs”. Need I say more? The lively winger created countless goals for Rotherham playing an often crucial role in our back-to-back promotion campaign, with pin-point crosses coming from the magical left-foot of the Newcastle born man. I don’t think I’ll ever forget his fantastic volleyed goal in the Cup against Sheffield Wednesday. Perhaps his volley against Shrewsbury was even better! Pringle was in the 2014/14 Football League PFA Team of the Year, highlighting just how good he was. His Twitter feed and Instagram was always a treat for the eye too…

CM – Lee Frecklington

Current captain and longest serving Millers player Lee Frecklington just has to be in my all-time favourite Rotherham team. He really is a role model to young, aspiring footballers on what a player should be like. He’s a player who’s not afraid to get stuck in in addition to having a keen eye for goal for a midfielder, you can tell that the team misses him in midfield when the 32 year-old is out. I sense that the Lincolnshire born man has earnt a testimonial, though hopefully not yet of course!

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CM – Danny Harrison

Perhaps my strangest choice in my eleven. I do always remember loving Danny Harrison when I was younger. The midfielder always gave maximum effort in games and genuinely cared about the club’s supporters. He scored his first Rotherham goal against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup. He might not have been the most agile player, but he helped add to some great memories during his five year tenure in South Yorkshire.

RM – Kieran Agard

Alright, yes, there’s argument that he should be my striking option. But Agard was chosen as a right-midfielder when he played his crucial role in Rotherham’s League One promotion campaign, and man did he play that role well! After initially being lower down in Steve Evans’ pecking order, he became a regular starter, both scoring and contributing to goals on a regular basis. He was Rotherham’s top scorer in the 2013/14 season with 26 goals in all competitions. I had his name printed on the back of a Millers shirt, that was, shortly before he sadly moved to the then League One side Bristol City. Just my luck! Oh, and let’s not forget has last minute goal in our 2-0 win against Bradford in 2013 where he slotted it in to an open net. LIMBS!

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ST – Adam Le Fondre

He was perhaps just too good for us, wasn’t he? I was there when Le Fondre scored his 50th goal for the Millers, in what was his 8th game with the second goal in a 2–0 win against Accrington Stanley in 2011. He was a joy to watch in every game he played. After leaving the club and having various spells with Reading and Wolverhampton Wanderers among others, it seemed like every single bloody transfer window the striker would be linked with us in some way. Often it was just wishful thinking by our supporters, but that’s understandable I suppose. The goal-machine still maintains a fond connection with Rotherham United, often tweeting his support for the club on social media.

ST – Daniel Nardiello

Daniel Nardiello joined the Millers in May 2012 and became the club’s top scorer that season. I was actually rather sad that he fell down the pecking order slightly in the 2013/14 season, especially after his achievements in the season before, and being selected behind a striker like Matt Tubbs just didn’t seem right! He ended his relatively short Millers career with 23 goals in 45 games. His footballing abilities aside, I recall that he was an all-round nice bloke too, and always had time for fans before games.
You can read my interview with Daniel Nardiello by clicking/tapping HERE

Here’s my full starting eleven:

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League One: Promotion chasing Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic to battle it out

Two teams who were relegated from the Championship last season will face each other on Saturday, as ninth placed Rotherham United host second place Wigan Athletic in League One.

The Latics travel to The AESSEAL New York Stadium after winning 3-0 over newly-promoted Doncaster Rovers, in which Ryan Colclough scored a brace. This ensured that Wigan have clenched 2 wins in their last five games.

The Millers on the other hand had no mid-week fixture. They lost last time out 2-1 to top of the league Shrewsbury with a 93rd minute goal from Stefan Payne. This ensured that Paul Warne’s Rotherham side have endured a five game winless run.

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In the dugout:

Paul Warne – Rotherham
The Rotherham faithful can often be heard ironically chanting “He’s just a fitness coach!” to their manager Paul Warne when things are going well. The 44 year-old who spent a period of time as a player for Wigan and the Millers has had no managerial experience prior to taking the helm at the Millers on a full time basis last season. It has been a mixed bag of emotions for Warne who favours high-pressure attacking football, with results ranging from losing to strugglers AFC Wimbledon 3-1, to battering the likes of Southend United 5-0.

Paul Cook – Wigan Athletic
After successfully gaining promotion from League Two to League One with Portsmouth last season, Paul Cook chose to make the move from Hampshire and become the manager of Wigan Athletic at the start of the 2017/18 campaign (along with midfielder Gary Roberts). The switch looks like a wise decision as the man who seemingly favours football in a 4-2-3-1 formation, appears to be on course to bring the Latics straight back up, with them currently sitting pretty in second place.

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Ones to watch:

Kieffer Moore – Rotherham United
From playing non-league football for Forest Green Rovers, to becoming League One’s current top scorer, Kieffer Moore is an obvious threat to Paul Cook’s defence. The 25 year-old has played a pivotal role in much of Rotherham’s games so far this season, being a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation more often than not. The towering striker who is on-loan at the Millers from Championship side Ipswich Town has scored 13 goals so far this season and Rotherham will do very well to keep him at the club in January.

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Nick Powell – Wigan Athletic
Wigan’s highest goal-scorer so far this season comes in the form of lively midfielder Nick Powell. The 23 year-old has scored 7 goals for the Latics. As Wigan fans will fondly remember in the previous game against Rotherham last season, he came on as a substitute and netted an injury time winner. This was after being out for three months due to injury. The 6ft man also boasts experience playing in the England set-up until U21 level.

What to expect…
It will most likely be a game where both teams score – based on Rotherham’s positive scoring record on home soil, and taking into account the Latics’s impressive scoring record, where they have notched eleven goals in their last five away outings in the league.

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The two sides will play at The AESSEAL New York Stadium, Saturday 25th November, 3pm kick-off.
Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Twitter Reacts: Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Rotherham United

Kieffer Moore’s 96th minute equaliser against Doncaster Rovers set the large travelling contingent from Rotherham into rapturous scenes, late on in the South Yorkshire derby.

Here’s how Twitter users reacted to the result:

Bet365 tweeted:

The towering striker who is on loan at the Millers from Championship side Ipswich Town, is currently the top goal scorer in English football with a tally of 13 goals.

Some Rotherham fans enjoyed some banter regarding their local rivals:

Rotherham United striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, who came on as a substitute in the 74th minute, expressed his delight at the result:

Another striker, in the form of former Rotherham United and current Bolton Wanderers attacker Adam Le Fondre also tweeted his thoughts:

Le Fondre scored over 50 goals during his time playing for Rotherham, becoming a fans’ favourite for his goal-scoring exploits. He has netted just once so far this season in a second to bottom placed Bolton side.

In the match, supporters and staff from both clubs perhaps had justified reasons to criticise match referee Graham Scott. Rotherham fan Tim Gillatt shared his thoughts on the issue:

Tweets from the Doncaster faithful weren’t all doom and gloom after looking like the match winners to conceding late on. This supporter took some positives from the 1-1 draw:

However, for most Doncaster fans that late equaliser will have made the draw feel almost like a defeat. Some Rovers fans however seemingly wanted to contend that the euphoric Millers were perhaps a little over-excited with their late goal:

All the banter aside. It was a game in which Doncaster Rovers midfielder James Coppinger marked his 550th appearance for Rovers, and the 36 year-old should be recognised for his devotion to the club:

This result meant that both clubs moved up in the league table. Doncaster move up to 17th place while the Millers now occupy the last play-off spot in 6th place, just one point above 7th placed Blackburn.

The two sides will meet again at The AESSEAL New York Stadium on February 24th 2018.

*Please do not send any abusive messages to any of the tweets featured in this article, it is just unnecessary.
Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

5 Things to expect in League One tonight

1.) Kieffer Moore to score a goal

Towering Rotherham United striker Kieffer Moore is League One’s top scorer with an admirable tally of eight goals. The red-hot player, who joined the South Yorkshire side on-loan from Championship side Ipswich Town in July 2017, scored a brace at the weekend, in Rotherham’s 5-1 thrashing of Oldham. Rotherham manager Paul Warne will again utilise the player as a loan striker and the Millers’ opponents Blackburn will struggle to contain the striker who is in a rich vein of form.

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2.) Shrewsbury to keep top spot

Shrewsbury Town travel to lowly side Doncaster Rovers and are tipped by many to keep their fantastic unbeaten league run. The Shrews however may struggle to clinch all three points out of this fixture, with Doncaster coming into this game on the back of a confidence boosting 3-0 win away at Plymouth. Despite this, even if the Shrews do struggle and take just one point from this game, it is mathematically impossible for second-placed Peterborough United to overtake them.

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3.) Struggling Oldham to be a stern test for Peterborough

There could be the league’s biggest surprise on the cards in this game, with the possibility of Oldham getting something against second-placed Peterborough. With former manager John Sheridan being sacked by the Greater Manchester club, Richie Wellens has taken the reins on a temporary basis and it could be the positive change that rock-bottom Oldham needed. This breath of fresh air should help install some much-needed confidence to the Oldham players, which may just be enough for the Latics to get something from the game.

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4.) Scunthorpe to keep a clean sheet

Scunthorpe United are making a welcome habit of preventing teams from scoring. Graham Alexander’s side have the league’s highest amount of clean sheets with a tally of six. Moreover, three of these clean sheets came in away fixtures. Scunthorpe are also aided in the fact that they are facing the struggling 22nd-placed Gillingham tonight. The Iron will surely gain another clean sheet against a Gills team who have managed to score just five goals in the league this season.

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5.) The Bantams to make it three in three

Following a 1-0 win over promotion and Yorkshire rivals Rotherham, and another solid 1-0 victory at Northampton on Saturday, Bradford City are likely to have enjoyed a hat-trick of victories after their match against mid-table Fleetwood tonight. The Bantams have been unlucky in front of goal and if they find their scoring boots, they could make it three wins in three.

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All of tonight’s League One fixtures kick off at 7.45 pm.
Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Interview with YouTuber and Fleetwood fan – Ben Knapman: “the atmosphere that day was immense!”

I spoke to young Fleetwood supporter and football vlogger Ben Knapman (@Benknappy) about his beloved Fleetwood Town, and of course general musings about his ever-growing YouTube channel.

Hi Ben, first of all I’d like to ask you, why do you support Fleetwood Town FC?

“I was about 8 years old, and a footballer called Jamie Milligan gave me complimentary tickets to a game. It was against Preston North End and we drew 0-0. After that, I kept attending games until in 2011, I finally got my first season ticket. So I’d say it’s down to Milligan who was trying to get more kids to go to Fleetwood games, and it worked with me.”

Jamie Milligan played for and captained The Cod Army between 2005-2013, scoring 42 goals in the process.

After a solid start to the season with a 2-0 win over Rotherham and 1-0 win away at Northampton Town, has your initial prediction of a 10th placed finish for Fleetwood changed?

“My predictions haven’t changed. I think you get a real feel for where you’re going to finish after the Christmas period. I still think we’ll finish around 10th. Moreover, against Northampton we did actually struggle to score. I think we’ve played two mid-table sides at the minute, the real tests will come when we play teams like Blackburn Rovers and Wigan.”

A Conor McAleny brace ensured Fleetwood were victorious over Rotherham on the opening day, while Devante Cole’s 75th minute strike ensured Fleetwood gained all three points fromThe Cobblers on Saturday.

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Who will be Fleetwood’s key player this season?

“I can’t pick one but I’ll name two, these two are quality every week. Alex Cairns our goalkeeper is the first, I mean look at his triple save yesterday! My second choice is Kyle Dempsey, our number eight. He runs things in midfield and I think he got 9 assists last year!”

So let’s talk about your YouTube. What do you like the most about YouTube?

“I like the fact you can broadcast your thoughts and be yourself, I think other YouTubers are always better when they’re themselves on videos too. I love that I can share my experiences from Fleetwood games with other Fleetwood or football fans, and I feel that you can meet a load of good people through YouTube. I also enjoy watching my memories back of the games I’ve attended.”

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The 15 year-old has over 1200 subscribers on YouTube. Ben vlogs the Fleetwood Town games that he attends, in addition to other football related videos.

Do you have a favourite video on your channel?

“This is a very hard question! It’s going to be a Fleetwood vlog… I’ve made so many of these! *after naming a few of his videos, Ben finally enthuses:* I think the Bristol City video is my favourite because the atmosphere that day was immense. We didn’t stop chanting ‘red and white army’ throughout the whole game, and we deserved to equalise. That day made me proud!”

Finally, what are your aspirations for your YouTube channel?

“Obviously now it’s just a hobby, but I’d like to make a career out of it when I’m older!”

Ben, who was also named as Fleetwood’s ‘Fan of the year’, recently raised over £700 for The Bradley Lowery Foundation. He did this with a charity walk prior to Fleetwood’s pre-season game with Bolton Wanderers. Well done Ben!

 

My thanks go to Ben for taking the time to talk to me. Check out his YouTube channel here.
Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

 

 

Match Preview: Rotherham United vs Southend United

A buoyant Southend United side travel to Rotherham United this weekend on the back of an impressive 2-1 victory over former Championship side, Blackburn Rovers in League One.

Meanwhile the Shrimper’s opponents Rotherham, who were also relegated from the Championship last season, faced a baptism of fire on their return to League One. They lost 2-0 away to Fleetwood on the opening day.

The South Yorkshire side actually had a fair amount of the possession, and indeed imposed a significant amount of pressure onto Fleetwood, but Paul Warne’s side lacked the final product. Two goals from Fleetwood’s new signing Conor McAleny (who joined the club from Everton) sealed Rotherham’s fate.

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This is unlike Phil Brown’s Southend, who had little trouble rekindling their impressive form from last season. Goals from Ryan Leonard and new signing Michael Kightly put the Blues 2-0 up, before what would turn out to be just a consolation goal for Blackburn, from a free-kick by Charlie Mulgrew.

Ones to watch in this fixture:

Jon Taylor – Rotherham United

The 25 year-old signed for the Millers from Peterborough in 2016 and instantly impressed Rotherham fans with his pace and work-rate. The winger also boasts a powerful shot and despite being in a belated, rock-bottom Millers side, he managed to score goals against Nottingham Forest, Birmingham and Blackburn last season.

Anthony Wordsworth – Southend United

Rotherham United fans will recognise midfielder Anthony Wordsworth from his time on loan with themselves and may remember his only goal during his time at the club – a fantastic free-kick against Bolton Wanderers in September 2014. The Camden born player played a key role in Southend’s impressive campaign last season, scoring 12 goals in the process. It has also emerged that Wordsworth played despite the influence of injury.

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In the dugout:

Paul Warne – Rotherham United

Many critics have slammed Rotherham United manager Paul Warne ahead of this season, but if the club’s fantastic pre-season, and the squad he has assembled is anything to go by, he could well prove them wrong. The club’s former fitness manager assumed the role as permanent manager after managing The Millers in the latter stages of last season’s Championship relegation, which at first appeared to be temporary.

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Phil Brown – Southend United

Experienced manager Phil Brown took his Southend United side to an impressive 7th place finish in League One last year, just one point behind Millwall in the final play-off spot. Brown’s Blues side clearly have a significant amount of tactical finesse as they clenched ‘shock’ results last season too, such as a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and a 3-0 victory over Bradford.

The last time they met at Rotherham:

The last game between the two teams at Rotherham’s AESSEAL New York Stadium saw Steve Evan’s Millers side lose 3-0. A brace from Britt Assombalonga and a goal from Dave Martin left Evan’s promotion seeking side looking red faced at the full-time whistle. In fact, Rotherham have not had a victory over The Shrimpers on home soil since 1980.

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Full-time result?

With the plethora of attacking talent, both in midfield and upfront that both teams possess, I can see this game having goals in it. That said, I feel like the squads are fairly evenly balanced but I predict a 3-2 win for Rotherham, the recent cup games playing a fair role in my decision, even with different line-ups.

Paul Warne should narrowly clench his first win managing Rotherham in League One, and they will build on the positive signs from last weekend’s defeat to Fleetwood and their recent 2-1 victory over Lincoln in the Carabao Cup. Southend will have to pick themselves up following their 2-0 loss to Newport in the Carabao Cup and the impressive link-up play between Rotherham’s strikers may be enough to send them back to Essex with no points.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

 

 

 

 

 

Fan’s Perspective: I have faith in Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett

Portsmouth’s title winning campaign in League Two last season has been a refreshing change for the club’s supporters following years of financial turmoil and relegations.

With Pompey embarking on a campaign in League One this season, I spoke to someone who would know the club best, lifelong supporter Adam Murphy (@adampfc40), to explain in brief what is has been like following the club in recent times, and what he expects for the upcoming season.

Hi Adam, first of all, why do you support Portsmouth Football Club?

“First of all I grew up in Fareham, a town outside of Portsmouth. I then went to my first game when I was young, it was a pre-season game and Lua Lua scored two.”

Following a turbulent few years for your club, how do you feel after last season?

“Last season was brilliant. It wasn’t easy but we showed unbelievable character to close the gap on Carlisle and get that last automatic place. Also, to win the league how we did, just unbelievable!”

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Former Portsmouth manager Paul Cook departed the club following the 2016/17 season and has since joined fellow League One side Wigan Athletic. Former Wolves and Rotherham United manager Kenny Jackett has now took the helm at Portsmouth.

Do you think Paul Cook’s departure will have hindered the team’s chances of success this season?

“No, Cook took us as far as I think he possibly could. Jackett is a good league one manager and I have faith in him to do the job.”

Is there any particular fixture(s) that you’re looking forward to?

“I’m looking forward to games like Bradford and Rotherham because they’ll be new stadiums for me to go to!”

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Who will be the key player for Pompey next season?

“Christian Burgess at centre-back will have to be on top of his game, he’s a very good player. However wingers such as the likes of Kal Naismith and Kyle Bennett will be crucial to our success.”

How successful has this transfer window been for yourselves so far?

“I’m happy with the signing of Brett Pitman. Good striker!”

Pitman has joined Portsmouth on a three-year deal from Championship side Ipswich Town. The 29 year-old believes that joining Pompey is an: “opportunity to push on and hopefully get promoted again”.

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Finally Adam, where do you think you’ll finish come the end of the season?

“Anywhere but in the relegation zone! But ideally the playoffs or automatic promotion would be great, but a season to find our feet wouldn’t be that bad for a club like us, especially after what we’ve been through.”

Portsmouth will face Rochdale at home on August 5th to start their campaign back in League One.

Many thanks to Adam for talking to me, and the best of luck for the upcoming season. Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport