Rotherham United: Spirited Derbyshire keen on new Millers deal

Matt Derbyshire
Matt Derbyshire
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Survival hero Matt Derbyshire wants to stay at Rotherham United to experience more of the dressing-room spirit which made him certain the club would win their battle for Championship safety.

The striker turned midfielder played a crucial part in the 11-match unbeaten run which saw the Millers stay up under new boss Neil Warnock after looking near-certainties for the drop.

Derbyshire is out of contract in the summer and is waiting to see if he will be offered a new deal.

“Absolutely I hope I’m here next season,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to anyone. I’ll see what happens.”

At one stage early in Warnock’s tenure, Rotherham were in the bottom three and six points adrift of a safety place, before embarking on their best undefeated sequence for 50 years.

Asked if he ever feared relegation, Derbyshire responded: “No. I look around my dressing room every single week - I’m with the lads every day - and we’ve got fighters, we’ve got good players.”

The Millers had slipped into the drop zone after a February 6 loss at Bolton Wanderers , costing then-manager Neil Redfearn his job, before Warnock’s agreed to come out of retirement in their hour of need.

Six wins and five draws between February 27 and April 23 saw Rotherham guarantee their place in the second tier next year with two games of the season to spare.

Warnock kept faith with the players who were already at the club when he arrived as he led a stunning revival, with Derbyshire contributing as much as anyone in an unfamiliar position.

The centre-forward was given a role on the left of midfield and responded with a series of hard-running, battling displays, while still contributing the winner at Sheffield Wednesday and key goals at Bristol City and MK Dons.

“Knowing you have those lads alongside you on the pitch makes you believe,” Derbyshire added. “I know things didn’t go well mid-season, but I always knew that we’d stay up.”

The Millers’ incredible run came to an end last weekend with a 1-0 home reverse against Blackburn Rovers, but Derbyshire and his teammates want to finish with a flourish when they play their final game of the campaign, at Hull City on Saturday.

“We set out our stall at the start of the season for Rotherham United to stay in the Championship and we’ve done that,” the 30-year-old said.

“We’re not resting on that. We’ll go again at Hull and try to get something out of that. We’re safe and that’s the main thing.

“The season was all about what happened before Blackburn. It’s been a great achievement for the club - for the manager, the players, everyone. Hopefully we can do it again next year.”

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