‘FOREVER TOGETHER’ is never far from the Millers thoughts, as the club’s mantra is emblazoned around the AESSEAL New York Stadium, but experienced defender Billy Jones believes that his side will have to practice what they preach if they are to guarantee Championship survival this term.
Paul Warne’s team have given themselves a good chance of retaining their status in England’s second tier – with the club currently in touch with their relegation rivals.
Despite their precarious league standing, at present, Jones has seen enough from his Rotherham squad to suggest that they have the necessary mental and physical fortitude to roll up their sleeves and meet their Championship challenge head on.
“It’s going to be massive in the run-in, that we are all together,” Jones insisted.
“It’s important that everyone takes responsibility and no-one is pointing fingers. As individuals and as a squad, you want that togetherness. That’s what we demand from each other.
“Everyone here wants to do well for the club and they are all grafting hard for each other. It’s a massive asset to have as a squad.”
After putting pen-to-paper with the Millers in the close season, Jones has found his first-team opportunities limited, due to a succession of niggling injuries and the form of Bristol City loanee Zak Vyner, in the right-back berth, for much of the campaign.
However, the former West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland defender has forced himself back into Warne’s thinking in recent weeks – with his stock rising considerably after nullifying the threat of Jack Clarke and Jack Harrison, in the Millers home outing against title chasing Leeds United, before playing his part in some notable displays against Millwall, Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday.
There is a school of thought amongst Millers followers that Jones’ vast experience and know-how will give the Rotherham rearguard a more solid look, as they approach the make-or-break stages of their campaign, which is a point not lost on the 31-year-old.
“It’s been tough because you want to contribute and you want to be on the pitch but seeing the lads do well and win is the main thing.” Jones stated modestly.
“I’m always better when I’m training and playing. I’ve sometimes struggled when I’ve had little niggles, which I’ve had this season, which has made it tough.
“It’s a great group to be part of. Training is always very good. I’ve tried to stay fit and stay available for selection and I’ve been feeling good in recent weeks.”
“Our performances this season have warranted more to be honest.
“We should have more points on the board than we have. It’s coming to the business end of the season but we are always looking to improve and cut out the mistakes. As a group, we know a few of the goals that we have conceded have been a little bit sloppy but the lads know that and they are the first to hold their hands up.
“We’ve been strong at home in general and we need to keep that up. We have not done well enough away from home, but we can take confidence from our last performance, and take that into our next game.
“It’s a great group here. With every one of the lads, you know they are giving everything on the pitch for the club. Every Rotherham player will give 100 percent and we will be looking to turn those good performances into wins.”