Rotherham United: '˜We thrive on underdog status' insists Millers star Semi Ajayi

Rotherham are used to being the underdogs and Semi Ajayi says they take motivation in proving everyone wrong. Â

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 12:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 12:14 pm
Semi Ajayi of Rotherham United tackled by Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The Millers started the season as big favourites to go down and the opening day 5-1 hammering at Brentford did little to change that opinion.

But Paul Warne's side got their act together and following an impressive period over autumn, stayed out of the bottom three until just after Christmas.

Semi Ajayi of Rotherham United tackled by Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd - Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Results have slipped in recent weeks, including damaging losses to Bolton and Ipswich, which have seen them hauled back into danger.

But Ajayi reckons again being written off can work in their favour ahead of the return fixture against the Bees on Saturday.

"Definitely the players take motivation from no one thinking we'll stay up," Ajayi said.

"I think we have the kind of character in the dressing whereby if people write us off we just come out fighting even harder.

"Maybe the 5-1 defeat at Brentford on opening day was a blessing in disguise.

'A lot of people wrote us off then and we came back strongly. I think the month or two after that we were probably in the best form we've been in all season.

"We have some big characters in the dressing room. Talk like that is only going to make us play better."

The Millers will have their midfield options boosted for the visit of Brentford, who are currently six points ahead of their hosts.

Richie Towell is back in the frame after he served a three-match ban for his senseless red card at Bristol City on December 29.

New signing Matt Crooks is also set to be involved after his purchase from Northampton did not go through in time to feature at Ipswich.

The Millers, who are desperate for striking additions in the January transfer window, also have Jerry Yates to call on following his recall from a loan spell at Carlisle.

Yares, who came off the bench at Ipswich, enjoyed a prolific end to his stint at Brunton Park, scoring five goals in his final four games, which prompted Warne to bring him back to South Yorkshire.

'Obviously I am now operating at a much higher level so I need to step my game up again, but I am looking forward to the challenge,' Yates said.

'It is good to hear that what I've done at Carlisle has been noticed, and it is nice to see the manager put his trust in me by bringing me on last weekend.'