Rotherham United: Millers boss eyes up big spell

James Tavernier of Rotherham United
James Tavernier of Rotherham United
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Back at the start of September, the forthcoming set of fixtures were eyed up and it was billed as a benchmark month.

A side new to the division were to face, on paper, far stiffer opposition than they had previously encountered and this spell would give an idea as to the potential strength of Rotherham United in their new division.

They emerged from that spell indicating they would be quite alright but without suggesting they would be capable of storming into a promotion place.

Now, as they head for Bristol City tomorrow, comes another testing bunch of games and some big ones in there.

“A year ago we were striving to establish ourselves in a play-off place in League Two and who would have thought then that we’d be playing Bristol City, Wolves and Coventry just 12 months on,” said Millers boss Steve Evans.

“These are big clubs and not just big for League One. Throw in two clubs who were promoted with us, Bradford City and Port Vale, and we are talking about a five game spell coming up that is a real key period for us and will show us where we stand.

“We go into it in a play-off place which is an achievement. Where will we be when we finish it on New Year’s Day? That is the question only we can answer.

“We know it is a tough spell but I believe these are the sort of games our players will really relish.”

The trip to Ashton Gate will see the first home game in charge for new boss Steve Cotterill. His first game was the televised 2-0 FA Cup win at Tamworth last Sunday.

Under the man he replaced, ex-Doncaster boss Sean O’Driscoll, City played one up front but Cotterill had two up on Sunday including former Millers striker Ryan Taylor.

The Rotherham-born 25-year-old came up through the ranks and made over 150 appearances for the Millers. He caught City’s eye during a successful loan spell at Exeter and they were to move in for him in 2011 for an undisclosed six figure sum believed to be worth around £180,000. He hasn’t been a regular this season making just eight appearances and has yet to score.

Michael O’Connor remains sidelined but is expected to train on Monday whilst Joe Skarz (hamstring) is rated 50-50. Mark Bradley, groin injury, will have to be checked whilst Rob Milsom (back) and Pablo Mills (knee) are also battling back to try and be in contention.

Rotherham have sold over some 1,500 tickets for the Boxing Day game (3pm) at Bradford City after they went on general sale on Wednesday. There are another 1,000 available which the club believe will go.

The game is all-ticket and tickets go off-sale on Monday, Dec 23 at 2pm.