AFC Wimbledon provide the opposition for Paul Warne's Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday in Sky Bet League One. We take a look at who the Millers are facing in our opposition analysis...
In the Dugout
Neal Ardley will be in the dugout for AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. The 45-year old was a former midfielder for Wimbledon, Watford, Cardiff City and Millwall, who made over 400 career appearances as well as earning 10 England Under 21 caps.
After announcing his retirement in August 2007, Ardley moved into coaching with Cardiff City’s Academy before moving to AFC Wimbledon in October 2012. Since then, his only managerial trophy is when AFC Wimbledon won promotion to League One, for the first time in the club's history, via the Play-Offs, beating Plymouth Argyle 2-0 in May 2016. In their first season in League One, Ardley guided AFC Wimbledon to a 15th placed finish.
AFC Wimbledon currently sit 16th in the League One table, four points off the relegation zone. They come into this game as one of the third tier’s in-form teams having won three of the last five games, beating Bradford City, Southend United and Blackpool with two draws against Gillingham Town and MK Dons. In between the league fixtures, they were knocked out of the 3rd round of the FA Cup away against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur losing 3-0 at Wembley. In their last fixture, they beat Bradford City 4-0 away at Valley Parade courtesy of goals from Jimmy Abdou, Andy Barcham and a brace from Cody McDonald.
This is the sixth time these clubs have faced met since AFC Wimbledon’s reformation in 2002. Rotherham have won four of these fixtures with Wimbledon winning just once. All four of Rotherham victories' against AFC Wimbledon were in League Two.
The last time these teams met was in League One earlier this season at the Cherry Red Records Fans Stadium. In October 2017, AFC Wimbledon beat Rotherham 3-1 courtesy of a hat-trick from Lyle Taylor. After Taylor got his first in the 15th minute, Joe Newell equalised for the Millers in the 70th minute before two goals from Taylor in the last five minutes of the game gave AFC Wimbledon all three points.
Ones to Watch
Our ones to watch start with on loan goalkeeper George Long. The Sheffield United keeper has represented England's Under 18 and 20 teams, as well as having separate loan spells at Oxford United and Motherwell. He has made over 100 appearances for Sheffield United and has stiff competition at the Dons from understudy Joe McDonnell, who has appeared a handful of times for AFC Wimbledon this season.
In the defence, captain Barry Fuller provides experience in the back line. The 33 year-old full back has won the FA Trophy and two League Two promotions via the Play-Offs during his career, playing for Charlton Athletic, Barnet, Stevenage and Gillingham. Partnering him his Nigerian defender Deji Oshilaja. The former Cardiff man was a summer signing by Ardley's men and has been ever-present in their back line.
In the midfield, on loan Milwall midfielder Nadjim Abdou provides the engine at the heart of the team. The Comoros international has scored two goals this season and partners on loan Rangers man Harry Forrester, who has chipped in with three goals and two assists. Winger Andy Barcham will be a threat out wide for Rotherham, having scored four this season.
Upfront, striker Lyle Taylor is a player Millers' fans know well after he scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture this season. He is the only player in the squad to reach double figures with 11, but is being caught up by Cody McDonald, who has scored six this season. They can also call upon former Crystal Palace striker Kwesi Appiah who joined them in the summer or January signing Joe Pigott, who scored four minutes in his debut against Blackpool following his move from non-league Maidstone United.