Stoke City are the visitors to the ASSEAL New York Stadium as they face Paul Warne’s Rotherham United on Saturday in the evening kick-off of the Sky Bet Championship. We take a look at who the Millers will be facing in our opposition analysis…
In the Dugout
Gary Rowett will be in the dugout for Stoke on Saturday evening. The 44-year old was a defender in his playing days and amassed over 350 career appearances representing; Cambridge United, Everton, Blackpool (Loan), Derby County, Birmingham City, Leicester City, Charlton Athletic and Burton Albion before retiring in 2007 due to a persistent knee injury.
He became assistant manager of Burton Albion in 2009 under then newly appointed manager Paul Peschisolido. Rowett was put in temporary charge of Burton following Peschisolido’s sacking in March 2012. Rowett was given the full-time job in May 2012 and led Burton to two successful top six finishes in League Two. He joined Birmingham City in October 2014 guiding the Blues from 21st to 10th at the end of the Championship season. He was dismissed in 2016, with the club one place off the Championship Play-offs. He joined Derby County in March 2017 but couldn’t guide them to the Play-offs and joined Stoke City this summer.
Stoke City come into this game having won two of their last five league games, drawing one and losing two. The Potters currently sit one place above the Millers in 18th, level on points with a better goal difference. However, they lost their last fixture in the EFL Cup, losing 3-2 to fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest in midweek. After being 3-0 down, goals from Benik Afobe and Saido Berahino weren’t enough to stop Forest going into the last 16 of the cup. Striker Afobe is sitting level in fourth position in the top goalscoring department, with four league goals.
This is the 39th meeting between these sides with the Millers winning 13 of these fixtures. Stoke have prevailed 16 times while there has been nine draws. Stoke haven’t beaten Rotherham in the league since 2003 and haven’t won at Rotherham since 1993. However, Stoke won the last time these teams met, with a 2-0 victory in the League Cup in November 2008. Goals by Glenn Whelan and Danny Pugh sent Stoke into the next round.
Ones to Watch
Our ones to watch start with England keeper Jack Butland. The 25-year old represented England at the 2018 World Cup and also represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. He also has turned out for Clevedon United, Birmingham City, Cheltenham Town, Barnsley, Leeds United and Derby County. Stoke can also call upon experienced Australian international Adam Federici or Danish international Jakob Haugaard should they need to.
In defence, captain Ryan Shawcross has also represented England at senior level. The former Manchester United youth has turned out over 350 appearances for the Potters and could be partnered by on loan Everton defender Ashley Williams, who captained Wales in the 2016 Euros Finals. Another defensive partner could be Netherlands international Bruno Martins Indi who previously represented Porto and Feyenoord.
In midfield, Jamie Allen is another player who represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. He has made over 40 Wales appearances and could be paired with former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher. Also in the ranks is ex-Barcelona man Bojan and on loan Brentford man Ryan Woods.
Upfront, Benik Afobe is the man to watch upfront. The striker has netted four times since his loan move from Wolves. Saido Berahino is starting to find the goalscoring form that prompted Stoke to pay £12 million for the Burundi international. They also have 37-year old Peter Crouch and former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf.