Manager Neil Warnock is delighted Rotherham United are facing opponents in the top six as they bid to sign off their incredible survival campaign in style.
The Millers, with their Championship safety already assured, surrendered their 11-match unbeaten run last weekend as they lost 1-0 at home to Blackburn Rovers when neither team had anything at stake.
But tomorrow they travel to high-flying Hull City who are desperate to hit top form in their final game before their play-off semi-final against Derby County, and Warnock believes that could bring out the best in his players,
“I hate end-of-season games when neither side has anything to play for,” the Millers boss said.
“I am glad Hull have got the play-offs to come. They will want to finish on a high. I think it will be a better game than going to a relegated team or one in midtable.”
Rotherham will be backed by a sell-out away following of 2,500 fans who are planning a last-day party at the KC Stadium to celebrate the club’s great escape engineered by Warnock after his arrival in February.
Six points adrift of a safety spot with only 13 matches to play, the Millers stormed back by beating a clutch of promotion contenders on their way to their best undefeated sequence for 50 years.
Warnock, who is holding in-depth talks with chairman Tony Stewart about his future next week, appreciates the affect the club’s exploits have had on the town.
“Safety has been a massive boost,” he said. “Everyone is on a high, and I don’t just mean the players. When you go round the town and businesses, everyone in Rotherham is flying, and that’s how it should be.
“When I manage a club, I don’t just manage the team. I manage the whole town or city really. I’ve always tried to bring everybody together and get it firing on all cylinders, and that’s what’s happened here. It’s been pretty amazing.
“I wanted the run to be 13 unbeaten by the end of the season, but everyone has been remarkable. Everybody has played their part ... the chairman down to the tea lady, all the fans. They have seen magical moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Warnock has yet to decide if he will be in charge at AESSEAL New York Stadium next season, but is already looking beyond the Tigers showdown on behalf of the Millers.
“I’ve spoken to the chairman and we’re already in the process of upgrading the training ground,” he revealed. “And we are lacking a few members of staff for Championship level. But he’s taken it all on board.
“He is ‘Mr Rotherham’ and he knows that to keep Rotherham’s position in the Championship over the next few years, with the quality of the teams that are going to be in it, is going to take an enormous effort. He’s willing to do that.
“The infrastructure at the training ground leaves a lot to be desired, and I don’t think the chairman will mind me saying that. We have a lot of work to do in the summer.”
Meanwhile, March winner Warnock lost out to Chris Hughton as the Brighton boss won the Skybet April Championship Manager of the Month award.