Richie Smallwood talks to the official matchday programme...
MIDFIELD anchorman Richie Smallwood is confident his side can take heart from their successful survival battle last time out- by taking the Championship by storm this time around.
Despite the opening day defeat the Millers beat Cambridge last night to advance into the second round of the Capital One Cup to get their season off and running.
With gaffer Steve Evans bolstering his ranks with a host of proven Championship performers in the close season, Smallwood insists his side will be going all out to kick on this season with a trip to Nottingham Forest on the horizon this Saturday.
“We survived last year so it’s all about pushing on and seeing if we can get into mid-table, there’s no reason why we can’t,” he enthused.
“There are a lot of good teams but we have brought in some good players, who have a lot of Championship experience, who will help us push on this season.”
Since putting pen-to-paper on a permanent deal with the Millers last term after being one of the side’s Wembley play-off heroes during a successful loan spell from Middlesbrough in the previous season, Smallwood has adjusted to life in South Yorkshire with a minimum of fuss, arguably being his side’s standout performer last season.
Smallwood gives Evans’ men a steadying influence in the heart of the team as his calm assurance in possession often dictates the tempo of their play, while his ability to break up opposition attacks gives the team an added ring of steel against some of the divisional big-hitters.
“Pre-season is always tough but it’s nice to get the games underway and get the match sharpness,” he added.
“It’s very much early days but I want to play a big part in helping the club push on again.”