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Rotherham 4 Bolton 0: 5 things we learned

Rotherham came good in their vital Boxing Day clash with Bolton by blitzing them away in the second half, earning a 4-0 win.

It built momentum, moved them out of the relegation zone for the first time since October and put another nail in Bolton's coffin.

Here's five things we learned from the game.

The Millers have found a way of playing

For a long time under Neil Redfearn, although you could see he was trying to make them more solid and organised, there was no clear pattern of play, you didn't know exactly what the plan was from game to game. Well now, it's clear to see how the Millers are set up and what they try to do. Danny Ward's emergence in the lone striking role as allowed Redfearn to set up in a 4-5-1/4-2-3-1 system that has the striker ploughing a lone furrow but with the likes of Grant Ward, Joe Newell, Lee Frecklington and in this case Tony Andreu bombing on to support him. It is a far cry from the likes of Huddersfield where Jonson Clarke-Harris was totally isolated. It allows the Millers to be compact and solid in defence when they don't have the ball but it makes them so dangerous on the break and over the last two games they have proved they can hurt people. 

They want to be friends

Talking of that Huddersfield game, what a turnaround it has been since then. The abject manner of that defeat was a million miles away from the last two games and if the Millers had played anything like the second half against Bolton in West Yorkshire then we could be talking about three straight wins. Redfearn made the headlines with his post-match comments where he offered them an ultimatum - be my friend or my enemy. Well it's clear to see which one they have chosen with their response in the last two games.

Steve Evans didn't leave a complete set of mugs

Lots has been said about the squad that former boss Steve Evans compiled in the summer and while no one can deny that a lot of the signings have been flops, the former boss did get a couple of things right. Buying Joe Newell has proved to be one of the best things Evans did in the summer as the former Peterborough man has flourished in recent weeks and proved to be an attacking threat on the left hand side. Four goals in seven games has added to his stock and he ran the show for the Millers in the second half against Bolton. And the very last of his near-90 signings at the Millers was to bring Lee Camp in. After the struggles of Kelle Roos in the early season, Camp's assurance in between the sticks has been a key factor in the recent improvement and his handling and kicking in windy and swirly conditions put everyone at ease.

Lewis Buxton might not play for the Millers again

When news of Stephen Kelly's absence against Bolton was common knowledge, everyone assumed Lewis Buxton would be his replacement after doing well against Hull last week. So several eyebrows were raised when Frazer Richardson came in at right-back, with injury thought to be the reason for Buxton's omission. However, Redfearn revealed after the game that the former Sheffield Wednesday man was left out due to contractual issues. He would not go into further details, but we know that he signed a one-year deal in the summer, with the option of a second. So Buxton may very well have hit the appearance mark to trigger his new deal, something which the club may not want to do. Redfearn said that it needs resolving so we may yet see Buxton in a Millers shirt again.

Bolton will need a mircale to survive

After taking comfort in there being one side who the Millers are almost certain to finish above, it's tough not to feel sorry for Bolton. They are plagued by off-field problems and that has translated onto the pitch to make it almost certain that they will be relegated. They are £172million in debt, their players are not being paid on time, they are facing a winding-up order over an unpaid tax bill, they are under a transfer embargo and their manager was the subject of a club investigation over allegations in a newspaper about his private life. Then, in arguably their biggest game of the season where they could have hauled themselves closer to safety, they crumbled in an abject second-half showing which saw the Millers blow them away. They are now eight points from safety and in need of a massive turnaround to beat the drop.

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