'It is a difficult game, they are a strong side': Millers boss on Blues
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town travel to Rotherham this Easter weekend. MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's opponents from south Yorkshire.
The wheels have really come off the flying Rotherham machine in recent weeks.
Three straight defeats, to Shrewsbury (0-3), Charlton (0-1) and Portsmouth in midweek (0-3), have seen Paul Warne's side drop from top to third, with just one win in seven at a time of the season you simply don't want such a dip.
Just, and only just, on goal difference, the Millers still have their destiny in their own hands as MK Dons now sit in the second automatic placing having an inferior goal difference and having played one game more.
This free-fall would have seemed unlikely at Christmas, as Rotherham went on a long unbeaten league run from September through to December after a mixed start in August.
Relegated from the Championship last season, the Millers were one of the favourites to bounce straight back, and still are with many. But they will need to arrest their current run of poor form.
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Can Town heap more misery on them and keep up their very slim play-off hopes?
Rotherham boss Paul Warne knows this is a very different Town team to the one he came up against earlier in the season at Portman Road.
Back in November, goals from Ben Wiles and Shane Ferguson gave the Millers a comfortable 2-0 victory over Paul Cook's side.
“It’s a different Ipswich side of course, a couple of managers I’ve spoken too said that they are the best team they’ve played in recent weeks," Warne said this week.
“We beat them away before and we were really good, but they’ve got great players and are now performing like the side everyone expected in pre-season.
“It is a difficult game for us, because they are a strong side, hopefully we can attack it in the right way and give ourselves the best possible chance of winning.”
But Warne knows his team have slipped up in recent weeks.
“I understand frustrations that the position we were in looked really healthy and as coaching staff and players, we echo them," he said.
“I can see why people are nervous, because they want this team to go down in the history books. The league is probably the hardest I’ve ever known it and there’s a lot of teams at the top who are winning regularly."
Head to head
Ipswich and Rotherham have met on 35 occasions, all league clashes and currently Town have won 15, Rotherham 12, with eight draws.
The two teams first met back in 1954, a match the Millers won 3-2.
Indeed, it was the south Yorkshire side who held the upper hand in clashes between the two teams early on. And have done so in recent seasons, having won five of the last six encounters between the two sides.
Back in 2015, Daryl Murphy netted his first-ever career hat-trick as Town won 2-5 at Rotherham.
At the beginning of April, Rotherham won the FA Trophy for the second time in the club's history. They beat Sutton 4-2 after extra-time. Previously they had won it in 1996 after beating Shrewsbury 2-1.
What the bookies say
Despite their recent slump, the home side are favourites to win this. Town's odds are quite generous seeing as they are an improving team. The draw also looks a decent bet.
TOWN WIN: 9/4: ROTHERHAM WIN: 5/4: THE DRAW: 9/4
Did you know?
William Hague, a former Conservative party leader was born in Rotherham.