Rotherham United: Millers respond to Redfearn’s darkest day

Jonson Clarke-Lewis
Jonson Clarke-Lewis
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Neil Redfearn savoured his best moment as Rotherham United manager and then revealed it had been inspired by his worst day in the Millers hot-seat.

The new boss’s side racked up their biggest win since returning to the Championship as they beat Bristol City 3-0 at AESSEAL New York Stadium last Saturday.

Lee Frecklington

Lee Frecklington

Before the game he told his team to be like the Ipswich Town outfit which had humbled them 5-2 before the international break.

“I mentioned it in my pre-match talk, Ipswich and the valuable lesson they taught us about life in this division when they beat us at home,” Redfearn said.

“Basically, for 20 to 25 minutes, Ipswich beat us up. They kept slinging it in behind us, turning us round. They got the midfielders up the pitch and won every second ball. It crushed us.

“We want to come out and do something similar, and I think the boys are buying into it.”

The Millers squad are obviously fast learners as, since their defeat against the Tractor Boys, they have recorded back-to-back victories to move off the foot of the table and now stand only a point away from 19th place.

Rotherham endured a tricky start against the in-form Robins, but they way they played after Jonson Clarke-Harris had fired them into a 10th-minute lead had echoes of Mick McCarthy’s play-off chasers.

“When we got the goal, it started going that way round for us,” Redfearn said.

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Neil Redfearn

Neil Redfearn

“We started getting in behind and turning them and anything that popped out into midfield we picked up. It’s difficult to play against because you start to get a stranglehold on the game.”

“Before we kicked off, I watched Ipswich play Charlton. Mick knows the division and understands the division.

“By and large, when you wrestle the initiative away from sides, you tend to get a foothold in the game, and then football takes care of itself because we have got players who can play.”

Redfearn lost five of his first six matches in charge after being appointed in October and running headlong into an run of difficult fixtures.

But the Millers have looked a different proposition since the reunion of skipper Lee Frecklington and Richie Smallwood in midfield and the arrival of free agents Stephen Kelly and Leon Best, even though striker Best was suspended for the Bristol clash.

Two goals from Clarke-Harris and one from Frecklington were the reward for an impressive all-round performance against the Robins.

“The lads have got to take a lot of credit,” Redfearn said. “They’ve worked hard and bought into it.

“The run of games would have been a tough run of games for anybody. Derby, Middesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough ... these are top sides.

“I didn’t get too down. It was disappointing. I don’t like getting beaten. But I didn’t get too down because I knew where this squad was and the tough run of games we had and that if we kept doing the right things there would be light at the end of the tunnel.

“To be fair, we’ve come out the right side.”

Meanwhile, the £185,430 the Millers spent on agents’ fees between October 2014 and September this year is the lowest of all the clubs in the Championship this year.

According to Football League figures, Blackpool, now in League One after being relegated from the second tier at the end of last season, spent £79,750 in the same period.

The biggest spenders in the Championship were Cardiff City with £2,828,133.

Full Championship Championship list:

BIRMINGHAM CITY £443,570

BLACKBURN ROVERS £1,254,610

BOLTON WANDERERS £964,869

BRENTFORD £600,636

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION £912,421

BRISTOL CITY £231,316

BURNLEY £1,363,831

CARDIFF CITY £2,828,133

CHARLTON ATHLETIC £656,759

DERBY COUNTY £1,102,071

FULHAM £2,735,336

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN £429,343

HULL CITY £1,813,919

IPSWICH TOWN £261,347

LEEDS UNITED £786,897

MIDDLESBROUGH £850,285

MILTON KEYNES DONS £672,371

NOTTINGHAM FOREST £1,440,730

PRESTON NORTH END £194,961

QUEENS PARK RANGERS £2,361,742

READING £2,391,666

ROTHERHAM UNITED £185,430

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY £792,203

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS £849,600