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Rotherham United's 2016 New Year resolutions

A new year is on the horizon and it’s always a time to reflect on the 12 months just gone by, but also a chance to look forward.

People will be making also sort of vows and promises to improve their life and Rotherham United will be no different.

Their ultimate, number one new year resolution will be, of course, to achieve Sky Bet Championship safety. Doing that would make the first half of 2016 very satisfying.

But here are several smaller resolutions that the Millers should be making to reach their overall goal.

Come back from behind

One of Rotherham’s best attributes over the last few years has been strikingly absent this season – fighting back from losing positions. Their promotion to the Championship was built on an ability to come from behind and they took that into last season as well, winning 12 points from losing positions. However, that is something the Millers have been unable to replicate this season as in their opening 24 games they have picked up a solitary point when conceding the first goal. That came against Reading where they battled back for a 1-1 draw. The Millers don’t have a problem when scoring first, they have won six of the eight games where they have taken the lead, but they need to rediscover their ability to get something from losing positions.

Draw more games

Rotherham’s inability to respond when they are behind has meant that they have lost far too many games and as a result have not kept the steady flow of points ticking over with draws. That was another calling card of their survival last season – they drew 16 of their 46 games. This season has seen only three stalemates in 24 and there have been many occasions where the Millers should have got at least a point from a game they ended up losing - see Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Wolves and Blackburn. That is something the Millers have to improve on.

Cut out the horror shows

Rotherham’s quest to get away from the relegation zone, where they have most of the season, has been undermined by a horror show every four or five games. You know the type, a game where they have been so far off the pace, not competed, not put the effort in and left everyone thinking relegation is a certainty. It started off on the opening day of the season, with a capitulation against MK Dons, and they have never been far away, with games against Fulham, Ipswich and Huddersfield not ones for the highlights reel. The frustrating thing is that most of those performances have come against opposition that the Millers will have been targeting to take some points off. The Millers can ill-afford too many more of these.

Tighten up before half-time

There’s never a good time to concede, but doing so on the brink of half-time has to be one of the worst. But unfortunately the Millers have a nasty habit of doing that this season and it has always had a negative effect on the game. They have shipped a whopping seven goals in between minutes 40-45 and they have only gone on to pick up three points – in the 2-1 win over Cardiff – when it has happened. Two of them have been wiping out leads, three of the goals have been to put the Millers behind, with the other two extending leads of the opposition. All of them have been team-talk changers, though, and proved crucial. Tightening up just before the interval is a definite area that Rotherham must do better at.

Improve away form

Rotherham are always going to find life difficult on the road in this division. They are travelling to massive clubs with massive support. They are always the underdogs and there have been times where it has not been a level playing field – the trips to Derby, Brighton and Middlesbrough is evidence of that. But their overall record this season has been debilitating, having lost nine games, which is the joint worst in the division. They have picked up just seven points on the road and three from their last eight games. While they seem to have discovered a way of winning at home under Redfearn, they have to be find a way of picking points up on the road if they are to stay up.

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