Will Vaulks talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
MIDFIELDER Will Vaulks makes no apologies for the fact that his Millers side will invariably have to compromise style for substance, as they aim to be a tough nut to crack for heavyweight Championship outfits.
The likes of Ipswich Town, Millwall and Derby County have left South Yorkshire empty-handed following solitary goal defeats, and Vaulks admits that it is imperative that his side make their AESSEAL New York Stadium home a fearsome proposition for visiting teams, if they are to consolidate their standing in England’s second tier.
“I think being a tough team to play against is the most important thing,” Vaulks insists.
“We have that spirit and never give up attitude. Many teams may look at us as Rotherham who have come from League One and we had a disastrous season last time in the Championship. Sometimes it’s natural that you’d expect teams to be so much better than us, but we have shown we can compete. They may be better on the ball and have nice touches, but we can make games horrible and compete against all the teams in this division.”
The Millers will to win was no more in evidence than in their home outing against Derby County, whereby Frank Lampard’s men appeared to struggle to cope with the intensity and ferocity of Rotherham’s pressing game for large periods of the match. Warne’s side were duly rewarded for their efforts when Ryan Manning slotted home the decisive penalty, either side of sending’s-off for former Millers loanee Tom Lawrence, as well as Lampard himself, who was banished to the stands following an altercation with the assistant referee.
With Derby leaving the confines of the AESSEAL New York Stadium with the tails well and truly between their legs, Vaulks believes that the manner and nature of their Derby victory must become a blueprint for success if they are to realise their Championship ambitions.
“I really enjoyed it. It’s the kind of game that I thrive off,” Vaulks enthused.
“That performance was us and that is what we would like to do every week really. We harried them and it was non-stop work rate. We are fit and we ran a lot of miles.
“I think we did really well to keep our heads in the game and they got frustrated.
“It’s great to win. To beat Derby at home is no easy task but we can’t afford to get carried away.”
During the Derby clash, Vaulks went toe-for-toe with highly-rated youngster Mason Mount who had been receiving rave reviews following his performances for England Under 21s, during the recent international break and Vaulks admitted afterwards that he is relishing the opportunity to go up against the best the Championship has to offer in the cut-and-thrust midfield arena.
“In the games so far, I’ve had to follow players around the pitch a few times,” Vaulks added.
“He’s a talented player so it’s respect to him. We’ve seen what he can do, in creating things up the pitch but I think I frustrated him.
“Our analysis of other teams is brilliant. It’s the best that I’ve ever known so when it works it’s nice.”
In recent weeks, Warne has opted to utilise a five-man midfield in support of front men Michael Smith and Jamie Proctor and Vaulks has reverted to a quarterback role, behind Brighton and QPR loanees Richie Towell and Manning, respectively – with Nigerian international Semi Ajayi moving back to his familiar centre-back role. With Matty Palmer also kicking his heels on the sidelines, Vaulks admits that competition for places is fierce in the Millers engine room at present.
“We have four good midfielders, who can play,” Vaulks added.
“Palms has come on in recent matches and we gain something because he’s fresh while Semi has been playing in a sitting role and he’s been brilliant for us.”