Rotherham United: Millers have to adapt to change

Kari Arnason
Kari Arnason
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One area of a team where stability is desirable is the centre defence pairing.

For Rotherham United, the only certainty over their next few matches will be more centre defence alteration and by next week they will have had to change their centre defence pairing for seven successive matches.

Sometimes it has been by choice, others by necessity. Both will again be reasons why Millers manager Steve Evans will be naming different pairings once more over the next few games.

Suspension, last minute illness and international calls means every Rotherham centre defence pairing has had to be changed for the past five league games.

They will also change again for Saturday’s FA Cup tie at home to Bradford City and again for next Tuesday’s JPT trip to Hartlepool and may have another opportunity for change if Claude Davis is declared fit to return shortly after hamstring trouble.

Skipper Craig Morgan is back after suspension on Saturday to partner Kari Arnason and re-form what appears to have become the No 1 centre defence partnership.

When one or the other has been missing recently, both players have paired up with Pablo Mills.

Next Tuesday, Arnason will be missing because he’ll be away with Iceland for their World Cup play-off with Croatia which will also mean him missing the away game at Stevenage on November 16 (and any cup replay at Bradford City).

Arnason was signed to play in midfield last season but has slotted in superbly at the back (which is where he plays for Iceland). He started the opening match of the season in a midfield role but after 45 minutes was at the back alongside Morgan and the pair seemed to hit it off immediately.

“I love playing with Craig Morgan, he is one of my all-time favourite defence partners,” said Arnason. “We seem to complement each other and there have been games when teams have not been getting a lot of chances against us.”

They have played together in nine league games with three blank sheets in those games and only Shrewsbury and MK Dons have scored more than one goal in those games.

Recently, the pairings have switched between Morgan/Arnason... Morgan/Mills...Arnason/Mills, this last one being the pairing last Saturday.

After Saturday, Arnason will next be available for the game with Carlisle at home on Nov 23.

The central defence battle against Bradford’s twin strike force of target man James Hanson and speedy Nakhi Wells, will be a key feature of the cup-tie.