Rotherham United: Decision on next season between Warnock and chairman, says Ronnie

Ronnie Jepson
Ronnie Jepson
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Strikers by the name of Ronnie who do well for Rotherham United tend to be quite popular round these parts.

New Millers coach Ronnie Jepson has some way to go before he can match the playing and managerial legend that is Ronnie Moore.

Lee Frecklington

Lee Frecklington

But fans would be delighted to see the former centre-forward, now working as a coach at New York Stadium under boss Neil Warnock, stick around next season as five wins and a draw in six matches have transformed the club from near-certainties for Championship relegation to favourites to stay up.

Under the holy trinity of Warnock, assistant boss Kevin Blackwell and Jepson, once a feared frontman for Huddersfield Town, Rotherham have turned the safety fight upside down and, heading into tonight’s clash at Bristol City, they stand five points clear of danger after languishing six points behind the survival pace only five weeks ago.

Chairman Tony Stewart has intimated he would like to keep the current structure in place, and ‘Gaffer’ Warnock will have the final say on the trio’s future if they do pull of the great escape.

“It would be rude for me to even comment about that and this football club,” said Jepson when The Star put the question to him. “I’ve been here only two minutes.

“I’ve come here to work alongside Neil Warnock. When the job is done, hopefully, the Gaffer will sit down with the chairman and we’ll go from there.”

Jepson has been an instant hit at Rotherham, and the Millers have quickly made their mark on him too.

“It’s a fantastic club,” said the 52-year-old who played for Warnock and has worked for him as a coach at Crystal Palace, twice, and QPR. “Everyone is pulling in the right direction. There’s a lovely feel about the club.”

Tonight’s opponents, the Robins, are only a point above the 20th-placed Millers who then travel to one of the teams below them, MK Dons, on Saturday. MK are at home to Wolves tonight while Fulham, a place below Rotherham, visit Preston.

Matt Derbyshire and Gaetano Berardi

Matt Derbyshire and Gaetano Berardi

Rotherham will hear today whether their appeal against Matt Derbyshire’s red card in last Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Leeds United has been successful.

Midfield man Lee Frecklington, who scored the opening goal and then won the decisive 89th-minute penalty in the Yorkshire derby, says the squad are relishing the challenge of the survival double-header

“It is amazing how much confidence winning a few games can give you,” he said. “You go from trying to nick a game to really believing you can get something out of every game you play. We have momentum.”

Jepson praised the midfield man for his workrate and says it is a quality that runs right through the squad.

Matt Derbyshire is sent off

Matt Derbyshire is sent off

“Lee epitomises a Neil Warnock player,” he said. “He has a never-say-die attitude. He’s up and down the pitch. His energy levels are quite incredible. But it isn’t about individuals. Everyone has bought into what the manager is doing and everyone is giving everything they’ve got.

“We work hard. Neil expects that from his staff. We like to think we’re well organised as a staff. If any player has a question, we certainly have the answers in terms of how we want to play and how we want them to go about it.

“You have to give the players great credit for the way they’ve gone about the training sessions and the way they’ve gone out there in games and played. They have a great work ethic.”

Jepson is warning that, with seven matches still to play, the Millers are far from safe, and Frecklington couldn’t agree more.

“The next two games are crucial,” said the 30-year-old. “They’re real six-pointers at this stage of the season.”

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