Millwall are back in Sky Bet Championship action this Bank Holiday weekend and back in South Yorkshire – this time for a trip to the AESSEAL New York Stadium to face Paul Warne’s Rotherham United side on Sunday (kick-off 12.30pm).
Millwall currently sit in 14th and have experienced a mixed start to the 2018/19 campaign, suffering a first defeat of the season to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough this week. The Lions are, however, boosted by completing the club record signing of Tom Bradshaw on Thursday.
Promoted Rotherham United have two less points than Neil Harris' side and sit in 19th place, having won one and lost three to begin their Championship return.
Here we take a closer look at The Millers ahead of Sunday’s early kick-off.
Rotherham United have consistently played League football since their establishment under their current name in 1925. The club have regularly moved between the second and fourth tiers of English football, and re-entered The Championship this summer after last season’s League One Play-Off success, bouncing straight back from their relegation in 2017.
The Millers have experienced numerous promotions and relegations in recent years, with two successive promotions in 2013 and 2014 launching the club rapidly to the second tier, where they had not competed in since 2005.
The club have won the third division title on two occasions – amongst five promotions – and have also won one fourth tier title. The Millers reached the two-legged League Cup Final in 1961 – beating Aston Villa 2-0 in the first leg before losing 3-0 in the second – and beat Shrewsbury Town 2-1 to lift the Football League Trophy in 1996. The furthest Rotherham have reached in the FA Cup has been two runs to the Fifth Round, in 1953 and 1968.
After navigating through financial difficulties and their move home from the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield to their own New York Stadium in 2012, Rotherham are looking to establish themselves as a Championship outfit following a solid campaign in League One last term.
Ones to Watch
Richard Wood brings valuable experience to the Rotherham squad upon their Championship return. The club captain at the New York Stadium, centre-half Wood notched both goals at Wembley as The Millers won last season’s League One Play-Off Final. The 33-year-old came through the academy setup at Sheffield Wednesday before spending seven years in the first team at Hillsborough, then representing Coventry City and Charlton Athletic. Tall, commanding and possessing strong leadership qualities, Wood is potentially Paul Warne’s key man to help the club stay in the division.
Will Vaulks made one of the most significant contributions to the club’s promotion success, playing 47 matches including Play-Offs. Central midfielder Vaulks scored six goals and provided five assists, as well as playing the crucial engine room role in linking defence and attack for the Millers. The 24-year-old played in local club Tranmere Rovers’ youth team, before signing professional terms in 2012. Vaulks moved to Falkirk shortly after and made his name in Scottish football, earning a runner-up medal in the Scottish Cup in 2015 and making the PFA Scotland Team of the Year the previous season. After signing for Rotherham in 2016, Vaulks has been a key acquisition in the middle of the park, and with his eye for goal and work ethic, Rotherham fans have seen how important he is to their team.
Ryan Manning signed on loan at the New York Stadium for this campaign, having been at Queens Park Rangers since 2015. A Republic of Ireland U21 international, Manning started his career in his hometown of Galway with Mervue United, before signing for Galway United in 2015. The midfielder – who can also operate out wide – scored in both legs of the League of Ireland promotion/relegation Play-Off Final in 2014, shortly before arriving at Loftus Road on a long-term contract. Having made 19 appearances for QPR last season, the 22-year-old is now picking up further valuable Championship experience under Paul Warne this term.
Michael Smith signed for Rotherham in January 2018 after a short spell at Bury, replacing 13-goal top scorer Kieffer Moore as an imposing striking option to continue the club’s promotion campaign. Smith stands at 6’3’’ and possesses strong aerial prowess, as well as the ability to bring teammates into play. Hailing from the North East, Smith began his career with Darlington and moved onto Charlton Athletic, before joining Swindon Town in 2014 – where he built an impressive scoring record – following a series of loan stints. Formerly of Barnsley and Portsmouth, Smith is looking to settle at the New York Stadium having been given a Championship chance. The 26-year-old hit the winner for the Millers in their first League win of the season over Ipswich Town.
In the Dugout
Rotherham legend Paul Warne has instilled belief and confidence into the squad and the fans since beginning his first full campaign as a manager last year. Warne took the reins at the club halfway through the 2016/17 season, replacing former Lions boss Kenny Jackett. The former striker made nearly 300 appearances collectively for the Millers, as well as donning the colours of Wigan Athletic, Oldham Athletic and Yeovil Town. Still only 45, Warne is a young coach with fresh ideas, who is having a positive effect at the New York Stadium.