Rotherham United: Kenny Jackett will have Millers fit for the battle

Kenny Jackett

Kenny Jackett

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Tough taskmaster Kenny Jackett intends making Rotherham United the fittest team in the Championship as he bids to lead them off the foot of the table.

The Millers ended a run of seven successive defeats in the new boss’s second game in charge by drawing at Ipswich Town last week.

Now Jackett is planning to up the pace in training to give his team the best possible chance of making up the eight points between them and a place of safety.

“We have to work harder than any other team in the league to get ourselves off the bottom,” he said.

“Our output and input into training has to be more because I am a big believer in training how you play.

Rotherham are hoping to build on last Saturday’s point at Portman Road when they take on Preston North End at New York Stadium tomorrow in the final game before the two-week international break.

Danny Ward

Danny Ward

They have shown a significant improvement since Jackett’s arrival, raising hopes that they can compete better with the big guns in the division.

“The size of the club we are means we have to be more committed and hard-working than every side in every week,” the manager said.

The Millers were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Reading in Jackett’s first fixture and were leading Ipswich 2-1 until David McGoldrick struck a stunning equaliser with virtually the last kick of the match.

“We have got one point out of six, and I do believe that the percentage we need to find is not massive,” Jackett added.

“I have said to the players that it’s five, ten, 15 per cent.

“At the moment, it is a vital one and must find that percentage.

“We must have the priniciples of being the hardest-working team in the league and run more and be fitter and train harder.”

The Millers are seeking only their second win of the season tomorrow against the midtable Lilywhites.

“The bottom line is results and points,” Jackett said. “I do feel we are close, but being close is not good enough. We have to improve every week and all of the time.

“We need to be getting better, fitter and finishing stronger in terms of running, organisation and knowledge of the game.

“If we can get that, we can bridge that gap to being a side who pick up points on a regular basis.”

Meanwhile, top scorer Danny Ward, who has spent much of the season as a lone striker, believes there could be even better things to come from him now Jackett is playing a 4-4-2 formation.

“When I played up front on my own, I had Izzy (Brown) in just behind me and he was creating quite a few chances for me, so it wasn’t too bad,” said the eight-goal marksman

“But with Dex (Dexter Blackstock) playing up alongside me, it takes the workload off me.

“We can share it between us. I do think it will be beneficial us two playing together up front.”

Tomorrow’s game is the closest home fixture to Remembrance Sunday and a minute’s silence will be held before kick-off.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme which claimed the lives of many Rotherham-born servicemen.

With the club also celebrating the 100th league fixture at AESSEAL New York Stadium, they Millers plan to release red and white balloons after the silence to mark both anniversaries.

Richard Wood column

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