FT: Millers: Rotherham United 0 Preston 0

Mark Bradley's cross is blocked against Preston
Mark Bradley's cross is blocked against Preston
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Those who give media training to professional sportsmen like to urge the need to stress the positives from any given situation.

So, the positives. A week into the season and the Millers are still unbeaten. And a first clean sheet. And looking promising.

Meanwhile, as we let Aston Villa continue to quake in their boots, there’ll be those who might even find a negative. Like, the Millers haven’t won in the league yet.

Well, let’s swiftly manhandle that little downside as smartly as any Preston defender managed during the penalty area, set-piece wrestling encounters.

We’re going positive here, which any newcomer to any division certainly deserves in the early, heady days - not least when confronting a handy, fancied side.

So hands up out there all those who reckoned before 3pm that Preston would not only be promotion contenders but right up there as a very strong top-two candidate.

Ah, yes, I can see quite a few hands shooting up - the Rotherham manager’s outstretched arm among them. He was pretty certain. Yes, quite a few of them now, in fact.

Yes, Simon Grayson’s side were strongly fancied, no doubt by many after seeing their televised performance in the Capital One Cup against neighbours and bitter rivals Blackpool - a display which had a few Millers followers swallowing hard and wondering if their little band of League One newcomers could cope come Saturday afternoon.

Of course, the Millers had their own cup heroics on Tuesday night, taking in what many reckon is as good a 20-minute spell as the team has turned out under this manager and in an atmosphere as good as it’s been in the 12 months the new stadium has been open, allowing for the ‘first night’ euphoria of the Burton game.

So, bolstered by that, Rotherham fans turned up much more chipper and looking for a repeat. Except that such repeats are pretty damn difficult to order.

Not to put a negative a slant on it, after such a high-energy effort as Tuesday and all its emotional baggage, the fear is that there’ll be a reaction. That the energy levels will be a bit down, the mentality a touch dulled, the extra edge not quite there when required.

As the respective team representatives (Messrs Raynor and Grayson) both suggested afterwards by using just about as big a cliche as you’ll get ... “we didn’t want it to be After the Lord Mayor’s Show.”

Well, this was certainly no dustcart. Not quite Rolls Royce or a Bentley but it was certainly decent enough given the real paucity of chances.

From Rotherham’s point of view, they may consider it a good point gained in view of the quality the opposition stitched on while the Millers were trying to find their legs and a second wind in the first half. If the exertions of Tuesday hadn’t taken some toll on some players, then they fooled me.

But that’s no criticism. Just a fact of footballing life. It’s that unquantifiable ‘edge’ but I defy anyone to suggest that the Millers didn’t dig in and battle away.

In that respect, Craig Morgan and Kari Arnason set the

perfect example. It may be considered they had to in view of the fact that Kevin Davies (missing against Blackpool) was back in the fray and the very least that Rotherham had to do was fight that one tooth and nail.

They did just that and, to be honest, awkward handful though Davies is, he came off second best.

And if, on this 90 minutes, you judge him against Alex Revell, then Rotherham’s big fella had the more productive afternoon in terms of winning things, although Preston’s centre defence combated him pretty well too.

No, after their fairly sluggish start, the Millers eventually worked their way into the first half and did better in the second half.

In fact, in the latter stages, if there was one team who looked like driving onwards to get the win it was Rotherham.

If many of the red and white hue would have taken a point beforehand, then you can reckon that those in the famous white and blue might happily have shaken on a point too - and certainly in the latter stages.

You had to admire the way both sides - be it through midfield doggedness or defensive determination and assurance - checked the attacking threat confronting them, promising though it so often looked.

Matt Tubbs, perhaps feeling the effects of his first two appearances after not kicking a ball in pre-season, had the first half’s clearest chance when defender Bailey Wright boobed. Tubbs drove fiercely beyond the far post.

Scott Shearer had to make a couple of sharp saves from distance at a time when Rotherham were still coming to grips with Lee Holmes floating in between Davies and the midfield.

Defender Wright’s header against the bar from a corner on 54 minutes was a let-off for Rotherham.

Preston were never less than threatening but never made another real opportunity.

Rotherham, pushing on late on, saw David Worrall’s 18-yarder brush an upright and, with three minutes to go, a long throw ended with a clear chance on the volley 12 yards out for Michael O’Connor which he struck over the top.

So, the first ever goalless draw at the New York Stadium. Followed by a standing ovation from Millers fans - and you can certainly take the positives out of that!