Rotherham United Assistant Manager Richie Barker was on hand to speak to iFollow Millers ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Crewe Alexandra in Sky Bet League One.
The Millers head to Mornflake Stadium for the second time this month, following their victory in the Papa John’s Trophy back on 4th January.
Barker discussed Saturday’s opponents, the January transfer window and positive stats at both ends of the pitch.
Barker on the importance of the Papa John’s Trophy…
“It has served a good purpose in the sense that we’ve been able to give players minutes, as well as trying different partnerships in games.
“On top of that, it has helped keep the winning run going, meaning we’ve only lost two games in 28.
“Somewhere along the lines we’re going to need the lads who have been on the fringes the last few weeks and it gives them an opportunity to play themselves into the team.
“We’re not going to get through all 20 of our remaining games with the same 11, so it is important that everyone is ready when called upon.”
Barker on recent performances and finding ‘different’ ways to win…
“We were never going to continue beating teams by four or five, but we always say good teams find a way to win.
“Football has changed a little over the last few weeks, in terms of how the conditions allow you to play. I’ve heard a couple of managers speak in the last few weeks about changing their style to adapt to the conditions.
“It will be the teams who adapt to the conditions best that will be in the best league position to capitalise come March.”
Barker on the defensive record…
“Hammy was saying recently in one of the meetings that we have conceded the second least amount of goals in the whole of the EFL. In the three divisions that is pretty good going.
“A lot of work has gone into it and I think our defensive record has been excellent with two very good goalkeepers to back that up.
“We’ve been limiting the opposition to very few chances, we don’t want to jinx that, but it some achievement from everyone.”
Barker on attacking stats…
“I was quite pleased when I was watching the Liverpool game at the weekend and saw our name appear in one of the little graphics they run for most goals in all competitions in England, we were fifth below the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Fulham.
“Hopefully, that means we’ve been an entertaining team to watch, but I do think we’ve the chances we have created we could have scored even more goals.
“Like with the defensive record, this is down to everyone on the pitch doing their job, it is an all-round team effort and a lot of work has gone into it.”
Barker on the transfer window…
“I appreciate for a fan it is a very exciting time, but for us it is a little bit hectic because you’re trying to cram six month’s work into one really.
“There’s the possibility that one or two might move on in the next couple of days and we’ve had a couple of conversations with a couple of people.
“I’d be amazed if anything changes before Saturday, but I think there may be an opportunity for one or two to go out and get a little more match time.”
Barker on team news…
“We’ve got no fresh injury worries at the moment.
“Icky played on Saturday and Tuesday and had a little bit of soreness this morning, but he should train today.
“Joe Mattock won’t train today because he is still sore, but it was pleasing to get 90 minutes under his belt for him, both mentally and physically.
“Hopefully, by Friday, we’ll have everyone available.”
Barker on Wes Harding’s first senior goal…
“What a finish that was by the way with his left foot and for a defensive-minded player to show the aggression to get to the edge of the box and finish that chance is very pleasing.
“He’s a very popular member of the dressing room, who works really hard and we are delighted for him.”
Barker on Crewe…
“For the last couple of months it feels like we’ve played Crewe or Cambridge every two weeks! So two teams will be playing who know each other really well.
“We know Dave [Artell] very well and his team have a good mixture of youth and experience with a set way of trying to play through the thirds.
“It will be a really tough game, they’ve had a few good results in recent weeks and will be looking to do the same at the weekend.”