Rotherham United’s latest Championship encounter came against their local rivals Sheffield Wednesday. The Millers came out victorious after the solitary goal came from Matt Derbyshire, who has claimed himself a place in Millers folklore, alongside the likes of Ben Pringle and Alan Lee.
Rotherham were the better side in the first half, as the Owls struggled to get going. Despite Sheffield Wednesday showing an improvement in the second half, the Millers held firm to deny their opponents an equaliser.
This win for United means they have extended their good run while playing at Hillsborough, as Rotherham have not lost there since 1981.
This victory was vital for the Millers, as it came in a day when relegation rivals, Mk Dons and Charlton, also picked up wins in their respective games. This means that the gap between Rotherham and Mk Dons remains at 3 points.
Rotherham United now have two home games in a space of five days, against promotion chasing Middlesbrough and Derby.
The South Yorkshire outfit will go into these games full of confidence on the back of their derby success and they will be hoping to be coupon busters once again.
It is important that the Reds carry on picking up points on a consistent basis to keep in touch with their rivals and to maintain the upbeat atmosphere in the dressing room.
Their last home game came against Brentford, this resulted in a 2-1 victory and in this game there was a distinct influence from the Millers crowd, who inspired their troops to a vital win. It is key that the Millers faithful are in similar voice for their upcoming games, to make the New York Stadium an intimidating place to visit for away sides in the games to come.
Neil Warnock’s tactical nous was the difference between the sides on Saturday. He decided to alter his formation, as Greg Halford was occupied as a holding midfielder, a player who had been playing as a right winger in previous games. He played a vital role in the victory, through his ability to break up play and he prevented Sheffield Wednesday’s key playmakers, Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee, from creating many significant chances.
Warnock also decided to play Matt Derbyshire as a makeshift left winger, which made the Millers stronger defensively as the 29 year old put in a professional performance by covering his left back, Joe Mattock, well throughout the game. His performance was topped off as he grabbed the winner by cutting in from the left hand side to tap in from close range.
It is clear to all that Rotherham United have a greater chance of staying up by having Neil Warnock as their manager.
He has a track record of saving clubs, who are a similar position in the league as the Millers and the Warnock effect is evident already. United look much stronger defensively, with a solid and consistent back five, which includes Lee Camp, who is arguably the best keeper Rotherham have had in years.
The manager is loving every minute of his time at the club, as he is embracing the fact this may well be his last job in management. This is clear from his interview after the game against Sheffield Wednesday. He is beaming from ear to ear throughout, as both Warnock and Carlos Carvalhal gave their thoughts on the game:
"We deserved it…"
— Football On 5 (@FootballOn5) March 5, 2016
The gap between the Millers and the coveted 21st position is now only 3 points. This is a very manageable task for Warnock and his players, which would not have been the case if Rotherham did not pick up consecutive victories over Brentford and Sheffield Wednesday.
If United do stay up, it would be a magnificent achievement for everyone associated with the club. As they would have done so with a restricted budget and with less resources to work with compared to their Championship rivals.