Doncaster Rovers v Rotherham United: 'Anything less than the play-offs would be a disappointment' - the opposition view

We have not had long to wait for one of the biggest games of the League One calendar as Rovers renew acquaintances with neighbours Rotherham United.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 5:00 pm
Paul Warne

The Millers appear to have adjusted pretty well to life back in League One following their relegation from the Championship – particularly on the road.

As they prepare to head along the A630 on Saturday, we spoke to the Rotherham Advertiser’s Millers man Paul Davis to get the lowdown on Paul Warne’s side.

Q: How do you assess the Millers' start to the season?

PD: Good away from home, not so good at AESSEAL New York Stadium. The Millers have taken maximum points on the road but have yet to really fire on their own patch. They've played a new 4-3-3 formation so far this season and that is still bedding in.

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Q: What are the expectations for this season and how do you see the Millers stacking up to them?

PD: Anything less than the play-offs would be a disappointment. Rotherham were promoted the last time they were at this level, so they know the ropes, and their recruitment over the summer appears to have been very decent.

Q: With the closure of the transfer window, what shape is the squad in?

PD: It's a small squad but it looks to be a strong one. There is talent in there as well as options, particularly now they've added a couple more wingers which will allow them to move away from 4-3-3 if required. There have been 12 new arrivals and manager Paul Warne is happy to run with a streamlined group. He doesn't want players who have no path towards the first team.

Q: How is Paul Warne viewed at this moment?

PD: You'll always get some dissenters - sadly, social media breeds them - but I think his stock is still pretty high. It is with me, anyway. Warne's team earned nothing but respect for the way they tackled the Championship against all the odds last season and the boss is a proven operator in League One. It's fair to say the jury is still out on 4-3-3. The way he conducts himself makes him a great ambassador for the club.

Q: What system and style of play does Warne favour?

PD: Apologies for mentioning this already. It might have been an idea for me to check all the questions before I started answering them! In his heart, Warne is an old-fashioned 4-4-2 man. If he can, he likes to attack. 4-3-3 came about because there was a dearth of wingers of the quality he wanted for a large part of the transfer window. Whatever system they play, the Millers, in this division, will look to get on the front foot and go at the opposition.

Q: Who are the danger men?

PD: New striker Freddie Ladapo has a trick and a goal in him. He also has a miss in him as well, mind! Home-grown midfielder Ben Wiles is really starting to come through. He won't be scared to take the game to Rovers. The Millers have a couple of new wingers who look like they might be the real deal. Watch out for Chiedozie Ogbene and Jake Hastie if they get on the pitch. He's not exactly a danger man but the new goalkeeper, Daniel Iversen, has been quality from the moment he came through the door on loan from Leicester City. Probably the best performer of the season so far has been centre-half Michael Ihiekwe. Yep, usual pronunciation of his surname.

Q: How do you expect Jon Taylor to be received if he's involved at the weekend?

PD: Taylor gave his heart and soul to the Millers for three seasons and was entitled to move wherever he wanted to. However, many Rotherham fans won't accept him joining a derby rival. I get that, Taylor will get that. Supporters are loyal to their club and a lot of Millers followers feel, rightly or wrongly, a sense of betrayal. I'm a supporter of the club myself and my own view is that I wish him all the best apart from when he plays against Rotherham. There were some great moments in his time at AESSEAL New York Stadium and he's a smashing lad. But he might want to play on Saturday with his ear-plugs in.