Rotherham United: Millers will be bold at leaders

Kari Arnason
Kari Arnason
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What might be termed “the benchmark month” for Rotherham United comes to an end this weekend with what might be reckoned the biggest marker yet.

That’s because it happens to be the League One leaders away from home and taking on the top dogs in their own backyard in any division invites the closest scrutiny.

The fact that those leaders happen to be a surprise package in Leyton Orient, and not one of the more fancied sides in the division, should hardly alter the fact that the Millers will be able to add to their other benchmark experiences from the past few weeks and get a clearer idea of where they stand.

Orient, under the shrewd management and coaching of Russell Slade, lost their unbeaten record - the only one remaining in the bottom two divisions - on Tuesday at Coventry.

It was their 13th game and, in that time, they had topped the 30 goals mark and are the top scorers in the division by a distance.

So, with all talk around Brisbane Road in the past few days involving the importance of “bouncing back”, Rotherham might well reckon that the task could be even stiffer than if Orient had remained unbeaten.

This recent past has brought fixtures against such as Peterborough, Brentford, Swindon and MK Dons, all opposition which - when looked at back in August - the Millers could judge themselves on where they might stand in this division.

No one factored in Orient at the end of the month but now they do.

Even so. Millers boss Steve Evans - whilst acknowledging the severity of the task - says they won’t be changing their approach and will remain bold.

“We certainly won’t be going there and putting nine and 10 men behind the ball,” said Evans.

“We will look at what we did at Brentford where we were industrious, defended well and played some good stuff and we’ll look to deliver the same.

“I’m not surprised by Orient. Russell Slade did a great job last season when they were energetic but ran out of legs a bit towards the end. This time he’s added some more players and they will be there or thereabouts.

“They lost their (unbeaten) record on Tuesday against a Coventry side going really well and scoring lots of goals at home, so we can expect a reaction.

“Yes, I am expecting it to be tough but we have players available again, we have some big game players and they like big games.

“And I see this as a proper game and this is the reason why we wanted to get into League One - for games like this one.

“We have acquitted ourselves very well indeed - the second half against Swindon apart - and I have heard from people outside the club who have said how impressed they have been with some of the football we have played.

“It’s good to hear but we have quality footballers and we’re more than capable.”

Evans will hope to have one of those quality players, Kari Arnason, back in action. He was ill on Tuesday and missed the Tranmere game and stayed away from training yesterday but Evans said he would be back today and would travel to London.

Lee Frecklington and Michael O’Connor are available after suspension and Evans has to decide if he brings back Alex Revell against his former club, the one he left to join the Millers.