Rotherham United – 2016/17 season preview

The 2015/16 term was a campaign full of highs and lows with lots of drama, which you come to expect from a Rotherham United season.

They ended the year in 21st place, one position above the relegation places. Survival was believed to be an unachievable feet by many Millers supporters for most of the season.

After a poor recruitment set-up that summer and with two managers already gone through the exit door, Rotherham looked set for relegation until Neil Warnock arrived at the club.

Somehow, he masterminded an 11 game unbeaten run at the end of the season, which included wins over arch rivals Sheffield Wednesday, as well as Middlesbrough, Ipswich and an emphatic 4-0 victory over relegation rivals, MK Dons to help to secure their safety for another year.

Warnock decided against extending his stay at the New York Stadium, which has meant this summer has been an arduous and at times frustrating one. Alan Stubbs has been appointed as the clubs new manager – who won the Scottish Cup with Hibernian during the previous season.

Unlike his predecessor, Steve Evans, Stubbs has been patient in the transfer market. He has waited for the right quality of player to appear who fits his mould as he seeks to move the club forward.

Up to now, seven players have signed for the club with more to come. The Millers broke their transfer record to bring in Jon Taylor from Peterborough and they also splashed out a substantial fee to bring in the highly rated Will Vaulks from Falkirk.

Jake Forster-Caskey and Scott Allan have joined on season-long loans from Brighton and Celtic respectively. Whilst Kelvin Wilson and Lewis Price have signed for the South Yorkshire club as free transfers and Anthony Forde for an undisclosed fee from Walsall.

Rotherham manager, Alan Stubbs, has expressed his aspirations for the coming season before his side start their Championship campaign at home to Wolves:

I think some people set targets, I’m not really one for that, but what we’re looking to do is improve on last season. We don’t want to be hanging around the bottom region of the table. As a club we’re looking to try and climb the table.

It is my contention that this season will be the toughest of the three years in the Championship for Rotherham.

With even more money coming into the league from Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle United, it is becoming even more difficult for clubs like Rotherham to compete at this level as the gap between the top and bottom clubs continues to grow.

After Stubbs’ successful tenure at Hibernian, Rotherham supporters will be longing to see how well the Liverpudlian adapts to management in English football.

The Millers faithful will not know too much about Stubbs but they did see in their friendly with Sunderland that he does like to play exciting football, with short passes and lots of movement, which is sure to please the fans.

For a team like Rotherham though, the first thing Stubbs needs to ensure is that points are put on the board to go towards ensuring their safety because in the end, the results will determine how successful his time at the club has been.

Alan Stubbs has made some good signings so far, which are better compared to previous years in my view.

The manager still needs to bring in a striker or two to help to propel the Millers towards safety with the help of the creative players already at the club, as well as two full backs to challenge Stephen Kelly and Joe Mattock for their first team places, both of whom thoroughly impressed last season.

If Stubbs manages to do this before the window shuts, Rotherham should definitely be able to compete against all the sides in the league including the elite teams and then just manage to survive once more.

Should Rotherham stay up to confirm their place in the Championship for a fourth season, it would be another incredible achievement for a club that have consistently defied the odds since their move to the New York Stadium.



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