Tag Archives: EFL

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

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

 

Midlands’s managerial changes: Struggling Nottingham Forest announce Mark Warburton as manager, while Derby County appoint Gary Rowett

Nottingham Forest, who find themselves just two points above the Championship relegation zone in 19th place, today announced former Rangers boss Mark Warburton as their new manager.

Warburton who has also successfully gained promotion with Brentford in the 2013/14 season has signed a 2 and a half-year deal at the Midlands club.

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Warburton may face a baptism of fire as his first game in charge of The Reds is in the East Midlands derby against 10th placed Derby County on Saturday.

Derby are a team who have lost their last 4 away games going into this fixture and are also going through their own period of change.

This is due to the sacking of Steve McLaren, and the recent appointment of the former Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett. The 43 year-old has signed a contract that lasts until the end of the 2018/19 season.

Gary Rowett told the official Derby County club website: “I feel a special bond with the club having been here as a player”.

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Both managers will have a tough task of rejuvenating their sides, with relegation looming over Warburton’s side, and a seemingly unlikely chance of securing a play-off place for Rowett’s Rams.

The last time the two teams met, Forest triumphed 2-1 over the Rams courtesy of a 92nd minute winner from Ben Osborn.

The upcoming game between the two teams takes place at The City Ground this Saturday, 1pm kick-off.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs Reading 17/03/17

Promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Reading will take on each other at Hillsborough this Friday in what could prove to be crucial fixture in the battle of securing a play-off place.

The last time the teams faced each other saw Reading triumph 2-1 over the Owls in November of last year.

Now, Reading travel to South Yorkshire on the back of having lost their previous three away games. Most recently they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Preston North End, in a game where the Royals had 63% of the ball possession, but failed to make use of it.

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Furthermore, The Royals have enjoyed just one victory in their last five fixtures, with three defeats and one draw.

Meanwhile over in Sheffield, The Owls have also ran into a rough patch of form, and due to their recent 2-0 loss to Aston Villa, The Owls share the exact same form as Reading in their last five games.

In addition to this poor form, a lack of available defensive players has occurred which will concern Owls supporters going into this fixture, with Glenn Loovens, Tom Lees and Sam Hutchinson all reported to be injured. Vinent Sasso is also suspended.

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Despite of this, Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal seems to be upbeat about his side’s chances this Friday, and stated: “We will be a strong team on Friday. It will be a massive game to us.”

Reading may focus on exploiting the lack of regular first team defenders at Wednesday’s disposal, using the likes of the skilled attacker Yann Kermorgant, who is their top scorer with nine goals, to unpick an irregular looking Owls defence.

However, Reading will still of course be facing a tough test, and will also have to contend with Wednesday’s own plethora of attacking players, which includes the likes of Fernando Forestieri who has scored eleven times so far this season.

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If Fulham win tonight against struggling Blackburn Rovers, it will ensure that Wednesday would fall out of the play-off places, putting even more pressure on Carvalhal to muster a response from his players rapidly.

This Friday’s game is of vital importance for both of the clubs’ chances of securing a play-off place.

The game kicks off at 7:45pm.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport