Rotherham United: Skarz ready for the next step

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren
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Defender Joe Skarz looked forward to the challenge of the Championship as the Millers prepare to go head to head with a former England boss.

The opening-day fixtures have pitted the Millers against Derby County, managed by Steve McClaren who used to lead the national side.

Joe Skarz

Joe Skarz

Left-back Skarz said: “The Championship? It’s a top league, with big clubs, big stadiums and big crowds.

“You have to aim as high as you can. We won’t be content to just stay in the league. We’ll be working as hard as we can to be successful.”

The Rams, who missed out on a place in the Premier League by losing the Championship Play-off Final to QPR last month, are Rotherham’s first opponents in the second tier, on August 9,

Skarz added: “It’s a bigger step-up from League One to The Championship than it is from League Two to League One when you consider the budgets and infrastructure of some of the Championship sides.

“But the boss (Steve Evans) has already shown his intentions with signings like Matt Derbyshire who’s proven he can play at the highest level.”

Skarz was an impressive performer throughout last season but now faces competition from another new signing, Mat Sadler, who has penned a one-year deal after leaving Crawley.

The Millers earned their Champion ship place by beating Leyton Orient in the League One Play-off Final at Wembley to make it two promotions in two years.

Evans has made six signings already and the club say more are on the way.

The players report for pre-season training on Monday when the remaining squad from last season will be joined by new boys Derbyshire, Sadler, Jordan Bowery, Scott Loach, Connor Newton and Kirk Broadfoot.

Keeper Loach, who was with Ipswich last season and has been on his honeymoon, used his Twitter page to say: “Back in England and one thing on my mind! Starting with Rotherham! Big year!”

Meanwhile, Rotherham’s trip to Birmingham City has been brought forward 24 hours and will now be played on Good Friday, April 3, kick-off 3pm. The Millers and the Blues last met in April 2002 at Millmoor when goals from Darren Byfield and Martin McIntosh secured a 2-2 draw. Brighton visit New York Stadium on Easter Monday

New York season-ticket sales have passed 6,000, and fans have until Friday to take advantage of the club’s interest-free direct-debit scheme and save up to £125 on match-by-match pricing.

Ex-Doncaster Rovers striker Chris Brown is in line to face Rotherham next season after joining Blackburn Rovers.