Paul Warne’s Rotherham United travel to Stoke City for their next Sky Bet Championship fixture on Saturday. Here we take a look at who the Millers will be facing in our opposition analysis…
In the Dugout
Nathan Jones will be the man in the dugout for Stoke City on Saturday. The 45-year old started his youth career at Cardiff City before moving to Merthyr Tydfil. He had a short spell at Luton Town, before moving to Spain to represent Badajoz and Numancia. He returned to England in 1997 to represent Southend United, Scarborough and Brighton before retiring in 2012 at Yeovil Town. He made over 550 appearances and won three major honours, all of which were at Brighton, winning the Football League Third and Second Division titles while also winning the Second Division play-offs.
As a manager, Jones started at Charlton Athletic as their under-21 professional development coach before moving to Brighton as assistant manager in 2013. He was caretaker boss of the Seagulls in 2014, before moving into the role of first-team coach. He joined Luton Town as manager in January 2016 and guided them to automatic promotion from League Two in 2018. He continued his form at the start of this season with Luton, taking them to the lofty heights of second place in League One by January 2019 before Stoke secured his services from the Kenilworth Road-club. Jones left Luton with the highest Football League points to game ratio of any manager in their history.
Stoke currently sit in 15th position in the Sky Bet Championship table. In their last five games, they have drawn three, won one and lost one. In those five games, they have scored only twice, but have only conceded three goals. Their last game was a 3-1 defeat away at Swansea City. Goals from Daniel James, Mike van Der Hoorn and Oliver McBurnie sealed all three points for Swansea despite a goal from Stoke’s James McClean. Stoke also had two red cards on the day with Bruno Martins Indi and Tom Edwards being sent off. Before the Swansea defeat, Stoke had kept six clean sheets in a row.
This is the 40th meeting between these sides with the first encounter being a 4-1 victory for Stoke on Christmas Day in 1926. The Millers have won 13 times with Stoke prevailing 16 times, while there have been 10 draws. Stoke haven’t beaten Rotherham in the league since 2003, with Rotherham winning the last league match at the Bet365 Stadium, a 2-1 victory in April 2005. The last time these teams met was in September 2018 with it finishing 2-2 at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. A Ryan Manning penalty and a goal from Richie Towell gave the Millers a 2-0 lead before goals from Tom Ince and Bojan helped Stoke to rescue a point.
Ones to Watch
Our Ones to Watch start with England keeper Jack Butland. The 26-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 a variety of clubs in his career representing: Clevedon United, Birmingham City, Cheltenham Town, Barnsley, Leeds United and Derby County. Butland moved to Stoke in January 2013 on a four-and-half-year deal for a rumoured initial fee of £3.3million, rising to £3.5million.
In defence, Republic of Ireland youth captain Nathan Collins could make his first start on Saturday. The 17-year-old has impressed for the under-23 side and was given his debut last time out against Swansea City. Collins could find himself involved due to Ryan Shawcross being injured while Tom Edwards and Bruno Martins Indi are suspended after picking up red cards in their defeat against Swansea.
In midfield, Peter Etebo will be the main man in the middle. The 23-year old started his career in his birth country of Nigeria with youth spells at Lord Honour FC and Warri Wolves. He made his debut for Warri Wolves in April 2013, scoring a first-half hat-trick against El-Khanemi Warriors. He also spent time in Portugal and Spain with Feirense and Las Palmas respectively before moving to Stoke in June 2018 on a five-year deal. He played for Nigeria in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and has earned over 15 caps for his country.
Upfront, Welsh forward Sam Vokes is a physical presence up top. The 29-year old striker, who made over 230 appearances for Burnley, started his career at AFC Bournemouth before moving to Wolves in 2008. He’s had six separate loan spells in his career at a variety of clubs, representing the likes of Leeds United and Norwich City. He has won three promotions from the Championship, twice as Champions and once as runner-up. He has earned over 60 caps for Wales and was part of the Welsh team that got to semi-final of UEFA Euro 2016.