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READ | We’ve shown that we can compete - Kioso

17 January 2023

Club News

READ | We’ve shown that we can compete - Kioso

17 January 2023

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Having played a role in a Sky Bet Championship Play-off campaign last season with his former club Luton Town, it is easy to understand why wing-back Peter Kioso had to ‘believe’ in the new challenge he was undertaking when signing for Rotherham United in the summer.

Kioso starred during a loan spell in League One for the majority of the season but returned to Kenilworth Road to feature as the Hatters made a charge for the Premier League via the second tier Play-offs.

That form attracted the attention of the previous Millers management team, who swooped for his services over the summer, but as fate would have it, he is now playing for a boss in Matt Taylor who had tracked his progress and been an admirer of his abilities dating back to his time as a Hartlepool United player.

The challenge of playing at Sky Bet Championship level is a privilege that is not lost on anybody at the club with the class of 2021/22 earning promotion during a hard-fought season and Kioso was keen to stress that he and his Millers teammates will be doing everything in their power to ensure that they are competing in this division again next term.

"The year I had last year being at MK Dons in League One before going back to Luton to finish the season off with them and play quite a few games as part of their Play-off run. We just missed out but for me to be a big part of that, I obviously left to come here for another challenge I believed in and, in my mind, I'm a Championship player. I want to stay a Championship player and everyone in the changing room has the exact same mindset,” he explained.

"We've shown the world that we can compete with those teams at the top end of the division and whilst we know this will be a very tough game, we need to make sure we believe we can be a match for these sides.

"Obviously the boys know what we need to do. We need to make sure that we keep giving 100% every week and performing to the best of our abilities.

"We're not happy with the way results have going recently, but only we can change that with our performances on the pitch. Everybody in the dressing room knows that.

"We need to stick together, which we are doing.

"We need to make sure we stand by one another and turn this run around because we're capable of doing it.”

The 23-year-old’s early stages as a Millers player were hampered by injury meaning that opportunities to nail down a starting berth had proven difficult with good competition in the right-wing-back area.

Since rediscovering full fitness Kioso has been in impressive form and has fended off competition from talented Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy, whilst also competing with the dependable Wes Harding who can operate across a number of positions.

The Irish defender – who was close with Norton-Cuffy personally during his time at Roundwood – admitted that having him for competition in the first half of the season raised his own game, to ensure that he was the preferred option in what is a demanding role in Taylor’s side.

"Brooke is a kid with a bright future in front of him and it made me really perform at my best having someone like him pushing me for a starting shirt,” Kioso continued.

“I think having him here for the first half of the season has seen me turn out some of my best performances and it's up to me to continue that between now and May.

"Now that I'm back, I want to make sure that I stay in the team and hopefully my contribution can help the boys out.”

Despite being in the relative infancy of his career at 23, Kioso is well-travelled enough to recognise that sides throughout world football can find themselves in difficult runs during the trials and tribulations of a long season, but is wise enough to understand that the Millers are more than capable of correcting the ship’s course and getting back on track in the second tier.

Following a comprehensive win over Blackburn Rovers at the weekend, there is even more reason to believe that Kioso and his fellow Millers charges can preserve their Championship status this time around.

"It happens in football - teams go on tough runs. We worry about what happens here because that's all that we can control and we know that we are the masters of our own destiny,” he explained.

"We know what we need to do to affect that. The boys have got their heads down and try everything within our power to do even more to change this run. We're all happy to do that and hopefully we can reap the rewards.

"At the end of the day, we have to make sure that we show that every time we go out and do that by giving 100%.”

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