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Rotherham v MK Dons: 5 things to look out for

Finally, after 14 long weeks Rotherham return to competitive action as they begin the 2015/16 Sky Bet Championship campaign at home to MK Dons on Saturday.

The Millers will be hoping to build on their survival last season, with plenty been made about a mid-table target.

Here's five things to look out for in their season-opener.

1) Can Rotherham make New York a fortress?

It's fair to say Rotherham's home form kept them up last season, with eight of their 11 wins coming at New York Stadium and in the second half of the campaign they lost just two of 11 matches there. That sort of form is going to have to be repeated this term if the Millers are to achieve any of their ambitions and playing at home is particularly advantageous to Rotherham, as they have an onus to be more attacking, which suits their natural style under Steve Evans. They have a good chance to make a winning start on home soil against a newly promoted side with no experience of the Championship.

2) Ending the MK Dons hoodoo

One thing Evans has excelled at during his time at Rotherham has been his ability to buck trends and achieve landmark wins over opposition. And he has the chance to get another one under his belt as the Millers have never beaten MK Dons in six meetings. Karl Robinson's side have only been to New York once, drawing 2-2 in the final regular league game of the 2013/14 season. Four of those games have ended in stalemate, with the Dons winning two, so the Millers will be going all out for that first scalp.

3) Will MK Dons be a threat?

Many tipsters have predicted that Rotherham and MK Dons will be battling it out at the bottom of the league together, but Robinson's side are a bit of an unknown entity. They blitzed their way to promotion from League One last season, racking up 91 points and scoring goals for fun, but recruitment over the summer has been restrained and they have never played at this level before. Although freak results are commonplace on the opening days of the season, and it will be difficult to make a full judgement based on one game, but seeing the Dons first up should give some indication of how they will fare next season. As ambitious as Rotherham have been, their priority is to still find three teams to finish above, and MK could be one of those.

4) What goal threat will the Millers carry

One major problem the Millers had last season was their inability to punish teams when on top and they dropped a plethora of points as a result. Although they improved their goal threat in the second half of the season, they found it difficult before Christmas, finding the net just three times in their opening six games, with another spell in the autumn of just one goal in seven games. They only drew a blank twice in their final 14 games and how dangerous they will be against the Dons could be a gauge as to how the season may go. Recent friendlies against Leicester and Mainz saw the Millers become a lot more dangerous in the second half and with Aidy White, Grant Ward and Emmanuel Ledesma there is potential for a lot of opportunities to be created. Derbyshire and co have to stick them away.

5) Nice to meet you, what's your name?

It's becoming an annual occurrence in the Evans reign and this year is no different as fans turning up to New York for the first time since last season won't have a clue who most of the players are after a raft of summer signings. Having signed 12 players over the close season, the Millers could field a team of debutants against the Dons if they wanted to. Although that is unlikely, there could be as many as seven or eight new faces in the starting XI, including a completely fresh back five. The first 20 minutes of the match may well be a case of fans getting to know what their new heroes look like.

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