Rotherham United: Warnock urges Millers to finish on a high
Boss Neil Warnock wants Rotherham United to mark their successful survival campaign by signing off at New York Stadium with all guns blazing.
The Millers’ 11-match unbeaten run has secured their second-tier safety and they play their final home game of the season tomorrow, against Blackburn Rovers.
The man who has masterminded their march out of the drop zone since his February arrival said: “We are over the line now. There will be some tired legs, but we want to finish on a high. Our last home game, let’s have a go.”
Warncock’s men equalled a 50-year best at this level by drawing at Wolves last weekend, and the 67-year-old has called on his side to remain undefeated until the end of the season.
Rotherham, in 19th place, wrap up proceedings a week after the Rovers clash with a trip to promotion contenders Hull City. A win tomorrow would see them move above Paul Lambert’s outfit who are ahead of them only on goal difference.
“You look at the league table and there’s no reason why we can’t climb a couple more of places,” Warnock said.
The manager has been holding talks this week with chairman Tony Stewart about his future, with Stewart saying he is optimistic the club’s survival saviour will stay on.
Warnock, who says he will work in the Championship again next season, is loving his time with Rotherham and has forged strong bonds with staff and supporters but knows his success in the last three months will have made bigger clubs sit up and take notice.
A measure of his popularity among players has been how he has taken the captaincy and spot-kick duties off Lee Frecklington yet seen the midfield man respond by being a driving force in the Millers’ incredible string of six wins and five draws.
“Lee Frecklington was captain and took penalties and here I am coming in and giving Kirk Broadfoot the captaincy and Greg Halford penalties,” Warnock laughed.
“When I was talking to Lee the other week, he said to me he has had promotions and he has never known a dressing room like this. I don’t think you can get a better accolade than that. He is Rotherham through and through.”
Blackburn, without a victory in six matches, find themselves in limbo as Lambert yesterday activated a clause in his contract which means he will leave them at the end of the season.
But they have in-form Danny Graham in their ranks, and the loan striker, 30, who scored twice in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Bristol City is doing all he can to earn a permananent deal at Ewood Park.
“Would I like to stay? Yes,” said the frontman who is out of contract at Sunderland in the summer. “But it’s out of my hands at the moment.
“Blackburn took a chance on me when I wasn’t playing a lot up at Sunderland and a lot of people questioned my fitness. But as soon as I walked in the door at Blackburn, the gaffer said he knew what I was about and he knew that I could score goals. From the first minute, it seems to have been a perfect fit.”