Neil Redfearn decided it was time for plain speaking after Rotherham United’s midweek embarrassment at Huddersfield Town.
The Millers manager is a blunt Yorkshireman, and in the wake of the 2-0 Yorkshire derby defeat he described the first-half display as “criminal”, said away fans had been let down and mentioned an alternative career for some of his players at B&Q.
In the build-up to tomorrow’s Championship clash with Hull City, he was at it again.
“They’ve had a kick up the ar*e,” he said. “Now they’ve got to go again.
“That’s life. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and we’ve got to fight. Those 1,500 people who turned up at Huddersfield having gone to work at half seven in a morning and worked all day have got to know we think like that.
“We’ve got to be at full tilt for us to win games. We can’t be sub-standard or below par and win a game. We haven’t got that sort of quality. We’ve got to be right at it and we’ve got to be front-foot. That’s how we’ve got to go for teams.”
The Millers’ cause has been boosted by the return to fitness of international defender Stephen Kelly after a three-match absence with a calf problem, while centre-half Farrend Rawson and striker Leon Best could also be back in the frame against the fourth-placed Tigers.
It’s massive having Kelly back,” Redfearn said. “In the two games he played we kept two clean sheets and it’s no coincidence. He’s got a calmness about him and athleticism, obviously, because he’s quick.
“He has a good understanding and reading of the game and he affects things around him. He’s coming back at a time when we need him.”
Redfearn expects teenager Rawson to be available and will wait on the verdict of his medical team on Best who missed three games through suspension after being sent off on his debut and then couldn’t feature against the Terriers on Tuesday because of a groin complaint.
The 29-year-old forward had a light training session yesterday, and Redfearn revealed: “It’s just managing it, seeing if we can get him through a game.
I’m led by the physios. I was hoping he was going to be fit for Huddersfield. It’s something that has niggled on through training and sort of got on top of him a little bit.”
The Rotherham boss is plotting his signings in the January transfer window but will focus all his attention on tomorrow’s visit to AESSEAL New York Stadium of Steve Bruce’s side.
We have to try to get three points,” he said. “We’ve not got to look at anything else but that. It’s a big game for us, a great game for the lads to play in. I’ve seen Hull live and they are a good side. They have good quality and good physical attributes. They can mix it if needed and can play if they need to play.
“It will be a tough game for us but we’ve shown on our day that if we are at it and up for it, which we should be, we can give them a game and a problem.”
Redfearn has drawn up a list of transfer targets, with bolstering his attack and defence his main priorities, and says some players will leave to make room for new recruits.
“I think that’s natural,” he said. “Some players will always move on. It’s important that the number of your group is a healthy number. There’s no point having people who are going to get nowhere near your first team and are going to be sat at home on a Saturday afternoon.
“Our recruitment has got to be based around how to strengthen at the back and maybe being a little bit more creative from wide areas and looking at strikers as well and how we go about scoring goals.
“Recruitment is massive in football. If you recruit well, you’ve got a chance. We’ve got to start getting better players in.”
After the disappointment of Huddersfield, Redfearn said too many of the summer signings of predecessor Steve Evans had not been good enough, and the former Rotherham manager responded by suggesting they were the words of a man under pressure.
It brought more forthright speaking from a man who prides himself on his honesty but who intends to draw a firm line under the matter.
“He can say what he wants,” Redfearn said. “I’m more interested in us. What I am doing is laying out the bare facts. Sometimes it provokes a response.
“It might put people’s noses out but, if I am going to turn this around and make it work and make it right, these are the facts.
“I’ve stated a fact and he’s made a comment.”