Pre-season defeats, even three on the trot, won’t mean a bean come 3 o’clock onSaturday. Neither will a win really, however much anyone wants to convince themselves.
Only next Saturday counts; up to now it’s been all for show - oh, and fitness.
Three home defeats (after beating Bolton) to Huddersfield, Middlesbrough and Barnsley help indicate the Millers aren’t anywhere near ready for the Championship. Anyway, being ready for League One is their only priority.
The way Barnsley performed in the first half they didn’t look ready for the Championship either! Fortunately they reminded everyone in a much slicker second half why they do belong there and, indeed, might just make the sort of impact some expect them to in view of last season’s great finish.
So, for Millers boss Steve Evans, no great sweat that their plan of having four stiff Championship tests rather than the odd ‘easier’ outing,ended with a hat-trick of defeats. However, he might just have a modicum of concern that they conceded three in each of the last two.
David Flitcroft can tackle his players about that spell and the dangers of complacency whilst reminding them that the first half simply wasn’t good enough.
Rotherham’s major impact came off the field an hour beforehand when they confirmed the signing of striker Matt Tubbs from Bournemouth on loan until January with a view to a permanent move then. There is no recall clause.
For someone Evans has hunted since last summer and has kept asking about (some weeks ago The Star reported that Tubbs remained the No 1 target and the interest would not wane) the arrival was pretty low key. “He’s a proven goalscorer but he also works extremely hard for the team,” said Evans. “If we create the chances then he has the ability to put them away.”
The strongest claim possible for a spot up front has been posted by Kieran Agard who might have been considered fourth in line for a strike role.
After his blistering entrance against Middlesbrough he put in another lively show here after going on at half-time, topped by two goals in two minutes. Barnsley got their act together a couple of minutes into the second half. A free-kick routine saw Stephen Dawson’s touch, David Perkins stop it and Jacob Mellis rifle a wonderfully controlled 20 yarder of top quality into the far top corner. Just for good measure - and after Steele’s leg denied Agard an instant equaliser - Mellis polished off the second from Chris O’Grady’s set-up. Another two minutes and quick thinking by David Perkins from a free-kick had Chris Dagnall closing in on goal for a 3-0 scoreline midway through the second half.
With 15 minutes left, Agard raced onto David Worrall’s pass to shoot inside the far post and was on the spot two minutes later to head in a cross from Worrall.
ROTHERHAM: Shearer; Bradley, Arnason, Davis (Morgan ht), Skarz (Brindley ht); Worrall, Frecklington (Noble 65), Tidser, Pringle (Agard ht); Hylton (Rose 65), Revell. Unused: Collin, O’Connor.
BARNSLEY: Steele; Crainie, Mvoto, Nyatanga, Kennedy; Mellis (Patterson 70), Dawson, Perkins, Golbourne; Dagnall, O’Grady. Unused: Dibble, Oates.
Goals: Mellis (47, 54) Dagnall (57) for Barnsley; Agard 75, 77) for Rotherham.
Referee: Mike Brown (Humberside). Att: 3,687.
Referee: Mike Brown (Humberside).