Top scorer Danny Ward is drawing on the experience of last season’s survival miracle as Rotherham United look to continue their revival under caretaker manager Paul Warne.
The Millers head into tonight’s home clash with Burton Albion tonight on the back of their Boxing Day triumph over Wigan Athletic and looking for their third successive New York Stadium Championship win since Warne took over last month.
Rotherham defied the odds in the 2015/16 campaign to stay up when Neil Warnock was in charge and nine-goal hitman Ward said: “It happened last year. We looked down and out at one stage. But we won a couple of games, turned it around and got out of the position we were in.”
The bottom-placed Millers have cut the gap between themselves and safety to nine points, and the margin is guaranteed to be down to six if they see off the Brewers, who are just outside the drop zone, as the teams directly above them in the table aren’t in action until later this week.
“Things would suddenly look a lot better,” added Ward. “The three points against Wigan have set us up nicely for Burton. The games are coming thick and fast. It’s good to have some momentum to take into the next match.”
The other sides occupying relegation places, Wigan and Blackburn Rovers, travel to promotion-chasing Derby County and Huddersfield Town respectively on Saturday.
Warne has confirmed that key attacker Izzy Brown, who was withdrawn in the second half against Wigan after missing the previous match, at Sheffield Wednesday, with a hamstring injury, will be fit for this evening’s showdown
“We have got three games in eight days,” the interim boss said. “Izzy is an essential part of the way we play, so I am not going to take any unnecessary risks.
“He is not injured, but if he had played another 10 or 15 minutes against Wigan then he might have been.”
Warne, who has now been at the helm for five matches following the shock resignation of Kenny Jackett, is hoping his squad will be spurred on by their recent New York form.
“It well help them,” he said. “To get back-to-back home wins is good and they will get a lot of pride from that.”
Ward’s goal against the Latics ended a seven-match drought for the striker.
His shot took a big deflection off teammate Richard Wood, but the Football League’s official data provider, Opta, have still awarded the goal to the 25-year-old.
“Goals are an added bonus,” Ward said. “Where we are in the league, it’s all about the team and getting three points.
“But I’m claiming it because the goals had dried up a bit recently!”