Millers slip showing

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ROTHERHAM United find themselves with roles reversed when they tackle second-placed Bury at the Don Valley Stadium tomorrow.

So, can they produce the sort of response - but above all result - that some teams have done against them recently?

When the Millers have travelled recently to fellow promotion challengers Wycombe, Gillingham and Port Vale the onus was really on those home sides to win.

Gillingham and Port Vale were points behind and needed a win to keep in touch. Wycombe was slightly different because they had a two point advantage but knew they could not afford a defeat which would have put Rotherham above them - and the Millers would have had a game in hand too.

All three got the wins they needed and, allied to a defeat at Stevenage, it might be said that it was these results which began the loosening of Rotherham’s grip on the top three.

Alan Knill’s side arrive tomorrow having hit form and the top two just nicely and the implications are starkly clear - a win for Bury puts Rotherham eight points behind them (and third-placed Wycombe as well if they beat Stevenage) - a potentially fatal gap at this stage of the season.

A win for the Millers and the very least they will do is claw the Shakers back to within two points.

In view of the way the opposition responded in those previously mentioned games, is it too much to expect the Millers to produce something along similarly determined lines when they find themselves in a similar situation tomorrow?

Ronnie Moore praised the work ethic and commitment at Bradford and said they had “worked their socks off.”

Unfortunately, due to a dodgy-eyed linesman (and not helped by the failure to award what seemed a clearcut penalty early on) Rotherham had only a sixth away defeat in the last nine to show for their efforts. Bury have the division’s best away record and have already won 10 - the most away wins in the country.

And with pace on the flanks they are adept at catching teams on the break.

They also have Ryan Lowe who has usurped Adam Le Fondre as the division’s leading scorer and just missed out on equalling a post-war English scoring record this week.

He had scored in nine successive games when netting in the 3-0 win over Hereford last Saturday but didn’t notch in the 1-0 win over Morecambe on Tuesday and so didn’t equal Jermaine Defoe’s record of 10 on the trot (achieved when on loan at Bournemouth). It represents an opportunity to compare the merits of Lowe and Le Fondre, assuming he returns after being rested on Tuesday with Moore suggesting he will return.

Le Fondre played a lone striking role in the clash at Gigg Lane and scored Rotherham’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw.

The record for successive scoring matches is 12 by Everton’s legendary Dixie Dean and the world record is 14 by Pele for Santos.

Last season, Le Fondre twice managed five in succession and as they came in a run of 11 successive games his failure to score against Morecambe prevented the Rotherham striker making the record his own.