U's v Millers preview...
The Millers face their second consecutive away game in a week as they visit the Kassam Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Millers will be hoping that they are able to pick up points on the road this time following their 3-1 at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night. The Millers remain in fourth position in League One, despite the defeat in midweek.
Last Time Out
Rotherham are coming into this game off the back of a 3-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon in midweek, despite a great finish by Joe Newell that had brought them back on level terms.
Wimbledon opened the scoring in the 15th minute, as Lyle Taylor, who hadn’t scored this season latched onto a perfectly weighted Andy Barcham through ball before chipping over Richard O’Donnell.
Kieffer Moore also cleared an effort off the line before the break, as Wimbledon looked to double their lead.
In the second half O’Donnell was called into action when Harry Forrester tried to chip him from the edge of the box, but a smart save on the backtrack saw the Millers’ stopper tip the ball onto the crossbar.
The Millers then won a free-kick on the halfway line and Wimbledon couldn’t clear a ball which eventually fell kindly to Joe Newell, who hit a sweet, left footed volley into the bottom corner to get the equaliser.
Then, in the 86th minute, as The Millers went in search of a goal that would secure them a fourth consecutive win, they got dispossessed in midfield and Taylor ran with the ball to the edge of the box, cut onto his left foot and rocketed a shot beyond the ‘keeper.
Taylor then completed his hat-trick after a lapse in defence from Richard Wood which allowed him through on goal, where he was initially denied by O’Donnell before he turned home the rebound and put it into the bottom corner
Oxford United, on the other hand, got a 1-1 draw at home to Charlton Athletic on Tuesday night, with both goals coming in the first half.
Charlton took the lead, as in-form winger Tarique Fosu charged down two attempted clearances from Oxford, and he had one defender to beat on the line and he did it with ease.
The hosts then equalised in the 35th minute after they spread the ball wide but Charlton’s attempt at a clearnace fell to the left foot of Christian Ribeiro who finished it well into the bottom corner.
Both sides went close in the second half, however neither side could make it count and both had to settle for a point apiece.
Ones To Watch
Striker Wes Thomas has started nine of the games he has played in so far this season. Thomas joined the side from Championship outfit Birmingham City last summer. Thomas is also a former Millers player, having played for the club in 2014.
The striker’s best season was arguably the 2011-12 season, when he scored 18 times in 41 games for Cheltenham Town.
Thomas has scored five goals so far this season, with three on his right foot and two on his right foot. He has scored these goals within 651 minutes of football this season.
The striker has a 38% conversion rate, and averages a goal every 130.2 minutes this season so far.
Head to Head
The last meeting between the two sides was in the 2012/13 season.
The Millers hosted the first game that season on September 29th 2012, and won the game 3-1.
Oxford took the lead in that game thanks to Sean Rigg but it didn’t take long for the Millers to complete a turnaround, as Michael Raynes scored two goals to give his side the lead. Jason Taylor made sure of the win with The Millers’ third goal of the game.
The second game that season finished 4-0 to The Millers with all four goals coming in the first half of this one.
David Noble’s deflected strike gave The Millers the lead which was doubled thanks to Kari Arnason’s header. The third for Rotherham came via Johnny Mullins who was on loan at Oxford earlier that year. The scoring was completed after Ben Pringle converted Alex Revell’s cross.
The Millers got promoted to League One at the end of the season, finishing second on 79 points, where as Oxford finished 8th, respectively.
Millers boss Paul Warne has hinted that he will make changes for the trip to Oxford United this weekend.
Warne said that “If you’re winning every games then it is difficult to pull people out,” but with two long trips firstly to Wimbledon on Tuesday night and Oxford on Saturday, he feels his side may need freshening.
Captain Lee Frecklington and Jon Taylor are both available for Saturday’s game, Millers boss Warne has confirmed. Frecklington and Taylor both still need some training according to Warne and will have their situations monitored in the build up to the trip to the Kassam Stadium.
Ben Purrington is still a few weeks away from a return.