Rotherham United: Heightened hopes as Millers bid to leave drop zone

Neil Redfearn
Neil Redfearn
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Rotherham United head into Championship action tomorrow night with boss Neil Redfearn believing increased expectations are a sign that the club are heading in the right direction.

The Millers travel to Blackburn Rovers looking for the point that would move them out of the relegation places after a 2-1 defeat last weekend against Wolves brought to an end a run of two successive wins.

Triumphs over Leeds United and Bristol City had built up hopes that Redfearn’s men could record three consecutive victories in the second tier for the first time since they returned there in 2014.

“It is a measure of how far we have come perhaps if we are expected to beat Wolves,” said Redfearn, who has now been in charge for nine matches, “We have to remember where we are at.”

A draw at Ewood Park would see the Millers climb to 21st place before the teams around them in the table play the following day.

“We have just to keep going,” Redfearn said. “I knew from day one that it would be two steps forward and one back. This football club is doing great to be in this division.”

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Rotherham are hoping defender Stephen Kelly will have recovered from his calf problem in time for the Blackburn clash, while left-back Joe Mattock is fit again after his hamstring injury and could be named in the starting 11.

The 25-year-old was on the bench for the Wolves game, and Redfearn revealed: “It came a day too soon for him to start.”

Meanwhile, Redfearn has put thoughts of the Millers’ FA Cup clash with former club Leeds United on hold to concentrate solely on his squad’s league campaign.

He is relishing his return to Elland Road in January, but said: “We are fully focused on the games we have before the cup tie. We have some really big games coming up before the third round.

“Ideally, for the FA Cup you want a home draw, but it is a great tie for us against one of the biggest clubs in the country. When it does come round, it is a game that we can look forward to and be confident about.”

The Millers manager is hoping to go beyond the third round, believing success in knockout competition can have a positive effect on league results

“If you can have a good cup run it can sometimes help your league form as well,” he said.

“I had something similar when I was a player with Barnsley when we were in the Premier League. We got through to the quarter-finals of the cup while we were scrapping to stay in the division and it helped our league form.”