Rotherham's Championship relegation rivals 'will be surprised' after shock win, Barker says

Rotherham took a giant stride towards Championship survival as their powers of recovery knows no bounds.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 10:28 am

The Millers were playing just their second game since a coronavirus wave decimated almost 20 players and staff over the last fortnight.

Some had only had a few days training, some were still feeling the effects and manager Paul Warne was still in isolation.

No bother.

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Viktor Johansson of Rotherham United punches the ball clear under pressure during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Rotherham United.

After the cobwebs were blown away in Tuesday's 4-1 defeat to Watford, the Millers back on it and delivered a superb 2-0 win at Bristol City which gave their survival chances a shot in the arm.

Michael Smith's 100th career goal gave them a half-time lead, with Richard Wood's set-piece effort after the break securing a sixth away win of the season.

It saw them close the gap on Birmingham to three points and Coventry to four, with four and three games in hand respectively.

Richie Barker, taking control in Warne's absence, says the win will have made a big impact with teams around them.

“I’ve told the players after the game that a lot of the other clubs battling to stay up will look at our result today and wonder how it happened,” he said.

“They will be surprised. Only time will tell whether having so many games in hand will prove positive for us, but there is so much still to play for.

“Our training ground is going to be a happy place next week because it was a fully deserved win. I am proud of all the players.

“It seems unbelievable that we don’t play until Easter, with so many fixtures still to fit in, but that’s the situation and we need to use the break well and build on this result.

“We are looking at playing virtually every three days when we start again, but we will look forward to that challenge when it comes.

“There is a fortnight to prepare for the big run-in. I spoke to Paul Warne for about 20 seconds after the match and he said he would call me later, but he was very happy.

“The win is a boost for him and everyone else at the club. We knew we would need to be well organised to get something today and that’s how it turned out.”