Rotherham have found things hard going in the Championship so far this season, after winning promotion via the play-offs – but had they had a consistent goalscorer in their ranks then things could have been very different.
While the Millers are only three points above the relegation zone – the reason for that is their comparative lack of goals scored and therefore too many drawn games.
Rotherham have only found the net 21 times in their 24 league matches – the second lowest total in the Championship, with only Blackpool on 18 having a worse record.
As a result they have the joint second highest number of drawn matches of 11 – level with Brighton and two behind Charlton.
Contrast that however with their number of defeats – eight – the second lowest in the bottom half of the table and the same total as Brentford.
Or their goals conceded tally of 30 – again the second lowest total in the lower half and better than five top half teams including us.
Ignoring last Saturday’s 5-1 FA Cup third round defeat by a seemingly unstoppable Bournemouth side – they have only lost one of their last eight games, although they have drawn six and only won one of the others.
That last victory – at Wigan on the Saturday before Christmas – is one of only five in the league so far this season with the others coming at home to Wolves (1-0), Blackburn (2-0) and Leeds (2-1) with their only other away success so far arriving at Millwall (1-0).
This is Rotherham’s first season in the second tier of English football for 10 years after being relegated in 2005 following four seasons at this level.
The club spent almost the entire 1950s and 60s in the old Second Division but following relegation in 1968, only had two more seasons there in the early 1980s before their spell in the last decade.
WHO’S THE GAFFER?
Steve Evans is currently in this third full season in charge of Rotherham after leaving Crawley in April 2012 to take charge of the club – and so far it’s been success all the way.
When he arrived they were mid-table in League Two and about to finish their four-year period in exile at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium.
He had the privilege of being in charge when they moved to their new New York Stadium back in Rotherham – and crowned the first season there with promotion after finishing second.
Twelve months later they finished fourth in League One and beat Preston in the play-off semi-finals to set up a final with Leyton Orient. A goal from Moses Odubajo helped the O’s take a 2-0 but the Millers hit back to draw 2-2 and then won a second successive promotion on penalties.
In nearly five years at Crawley, Evans turned a mid-table Conference club into promotion contenders – winning the title and the club’s first-ever place in the Football League in 2011.
When he left, the Sussex outfit had all but clinched a second successive promotion from League Two – a feat they achieved after his departure.
Evans previously managed Boston United and led them into the Football League in 2002 before being suspended by the FA after an investigation into contract irregularities.
It’s a long time since Brentford beat Rotherham at Griffin Park – more than eight years and four matches to be precise.
That game on October 1 saw us reply to an early goal from our former striker Deon Burton through a Kevin O’Connor penalty and a strike from Isaiah Rankin before half-time to leave us fourth in League One and the Millers just below halfway.
Since then though, Rotherham have enjoyed their visits to TW8 – with two 1-0 wins (the second of them last season) and two draws here.
In fact after our 2-1 win at Millmoor in April 2008, we failed to score against them anywhere in four matches – a blank sequence ended when Andre Gray scored the first of our two goals in south Yorkshire in August. Nick Proswchitz’s late second capped our second Championship win of the season.
MILLERS SQUAD NEWS
Rotherham could have at least one player making his debut at Griffin Park on Saturday after signing 20-year-old midfielder Jack Barmby on loan from Leicester.
Barmby, son of former England, Spurs and Hull midfielder Nick, joined the Millers on a one-month deal on Thursday.
One man who may not be lining up against us however is striker Alex Revell, who has been linked with a move to Cardiff – where Russell Slade, his manager at Leyton Orient, is now in charge.
Before last Saturday’s FA Cup tie, Revell had been in 121 consecutive matchday squads for Rotherham.
Steve Evans has already been linked with a possible move for Chesterfield’s top scorer Eoin Doyle if Revell does move to south Wales.
Revell is the club’s top scorer in the Championship this season with four goals while ex-Oldham striker Johnson Clarke-Harris and former Chesterfield and Aston Villa front man Jordan Bowery have three apiece.
Top appearance makers for the club in the league are Iceland international midfielder Kari Arnason, who has started 22 times and appeared as a substitute once in their 24 games while ex-Carlisle goalkeeper Adam Collin has also been named in the starting line-up 22 times.
Rotherham’s only former Brentford player is midfielder Robert Milsom but he is unlikely to feature on Saturday after returning from a loan spell at Bury with a thigh strain.
Milsom played six games for us, starting five times, on loan from Fulham in the second half of the 2007/08 season in League Two.
DID YOU KNOW?
Rotherham appeared in the first-ever Football League Cup final in 1961 – losing 3-2 on aggregate to Aston Villa in the two-legged contest.
The Second Division Millers won the first leg at Millmoor 2-0 but were pegged back in the second leg at Villa Park, where the hosts led 2-0 on the night after 90 minutes.
The top flight side scored the decisive goal in extra-time to lift the trophy and shatter Rotherham’s dreams of glory.
Rotherham Pre-Match podcast
Pubs in Brentford
For Rotherham fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match with four pubs around the ground plus many many more only slightly further afield.
The Griffin (Brook Road South) is closest to the away end and is very popular with away fans – but also gets very busy. The Globe (Windmill Rd .. junction Great West Road) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cozy away-friendly pubs .. frequented by away fans in the know. And are less than 10 mins walk from the ground. These are the three Beesotted preferred boozers.
Other than that, you can check out the other of the 4 corner pubs – The New Inn on the other side of the ground – also popular with away fans, The Princess Royal and The Royal Oak (normally home fans only).
The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields (which is a much better option than taking the overground from Waterloo/Vauxhall to Brentford main line as tube trains are every 2 or 3 mins as opposed to every ½ hr as they are on the overground) before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route).
There is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.
All pubs are incredibly away-friendly .. you can wear colours … and none of the Brentford pubs (except possibly the Royal Oak sometimes) do bouncers on the door ..
For ale head to the Magpie and Stump real ale pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a cosy boozer by the river and there is a new pub just opened by Kew Bridge called One Over the Ait which is another pub with lovely river views. There are loads more too.
There’s a great pub in Kings Cross Station too – The Parcel Yard upstairs. Good for a swift half on your way home
Parking – start at Windmill Road junction of Clifton Road and work your way up Windmill Rd … any of the roads off Windmill Rd as you head north and over the A4 Great West Road will do .. Many people park in the streets around The Globe and The Lord Nelson.
A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many, many more too if you have an early start (or all evening).