Rotherham United: I can feel the promotion mood, says Millers new boy Palmer

Matt PalmerMatt Palmer
Matt Palmer
New boy Matt Palmer has set his sights on an instant return to the Championship, saying he can sense the promotion desire in the Rotherham United dressing room.

The central midfielder stepped down a division in the January transfer window to join the League One Millers’ play-off push.

And, after making a winning debut in the 2-0 triumph over AFC Wimbledon last Saturday, the former Burton Albion man says he and his fifth-placed teammates won’t be restricting their ambitions to simply finishing in the top six.

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“As soon as I walked through the door, I could tell the changing room was buzzing,” he said. “We’re not planning just on staying fifth. We want to move up the table as far as we can, keep going until the end of the season and see where takes us.

“I’m pretty sure that everyone of us in the dressing room is aiming for promotion. Last season, I played about 40 games in the Championship. I thought I did well. I played 15-odd this season.

“I’ve not come here to sit in League One. I want to get back to the Championship and I think I can do that here.”

Rotherham, unbeaten in their last 10 matches, will be backed by a 2,100 sold-out away following at Glanford Park on Saturday when thet take on a Scunthorpe United side who are one place above them in the table.

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Palmer is hoping to keep his place, but will face stiff competition if Richie Towell manages to shake off the knee injury which kept him out of the Wimbledon clash.

The 22-year-old turned in an impressive first display but missed a golden second-half chance when he shot wide of an empty net.

“I wasn’t expecting to start,” Palmer admitted. “It was a nice surprise. Every player wants to play and I hadn’t played for a couple of months. I was feeling it a bit afterwards, but we got the win so that makes everything a lot better.

“I feel good. Match-fitness is probably a bit different to normal fitness. Hopefully, I can build up the match-fitness and the performances will get better.

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“I should have scored. If I keep getting in those positions, hopefully my first goal for Rotherham isn’t too far away.”

Derby-born Palmer, who helped Burton climb out of the third tier in 2015/16, says he knew within seconds of meeting boss Paul Warne that he wanted AESSEAL New York Stadium to be his new home.

“As soon as I met the manager, I knew this was the place I wanted to come to,” he said. “He’s got lots of ideas for me and the team.

“I fell out of the team at Burton. I just wanted to play football. Rotherham is a very attractive place to come to. There’s a great ground and great facilities. The fanbase is good. They’re doing really well, so it was an easy decision.”

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Centre-half Semi Ajayi, who has formed a strong partnership with skipper Richard Wood at the heart of the Millers defence, has been nominated for the Sky Bet League One January Player of the Month award.

He faces competition from Gillingham striker and ex-Rotherham loanee Tom Eaves, Blackburn Rovers centre-forward Danny Graham and Northampton Town midfielder John-Joe O’Toole.