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Rotherham v Hull: 5 things to look out for

Rotherham return to action on Saturday, trying to put the disappointment of Tuesday night's defeat at Huddersfield behind them.

Things don't get much easier with the visit of Hull, though, and whatever happens, Neil Redfearn's men will spend Christmas in the bottom three.

Here's five things to look out for in the game.

Which way will the Millers' response go?

Redfearn was not exactly shy and retiring in his verdict of his players in the loss at Huddersfield, with a very public "condemnation of them as professional footballers". Some of what was said needed to be said, but doing so in the manner he did was a risky strategy. He admitted he did it in part to spark a response from his players ahead of the Hull game, so it will be fascinating to see how it will play out. Will those comments inspire the players to prove Redfearn wrong and go out and show they can compete at this level or will it go the other way with the players sulking and taking umbrage. Let's hope it's the former.

If Leon Best plays up front, who plays with him?

Redfearn is hopeful that he will finally be able to get Leon Best in the side after a four-game absence and if his performance in his only 73 minutes in a Millers shirt at Leeds is anything to go by then his return can only improve things. But who plays with him? After the heights of Bristol City, Jonson Clarke-Harris has had another poor run of games, though performed well with Best against Leeds. Redfearn is a known fan of Danny Ward, though the former Huddersfield man has yet to produce any consistency in a Millers shirt. Matt Derbyshire could be an option, but his form is arguably worse than the first half of last season. It's likely to be Clarke-Harris, but a definite improvement is required. 

Can the Millers take the lead?

A major symptom of Rotherham's struggles this season has been their inability to take the lead in games and they regularly find themselves behind and chasing things - not good when the strikeforce is as blunt as theirs. They have taken the lead six times this season and four of those have resulted in wins, with a draw at Charlton and a defeat Nottingham Forest. They have only taken the lead twice under Redfearn and both have been converted into wins and the boss has identified this as a real area to target. If, somehow, they can get their noses in front against Hull and have something to protect and defend, then the Millers might just put something on the board. 

Does Stephen Kelly play right-back or centre-back?

As important as Best's return may be, the return to fitness of Stephen Kelly is just as vital to the Millers' chances. The Irishman has only managed 61 minutes more than Best, but he also showed what a difference he can make to the Millers, with his pace and reading of the game vital in the wins at Leeds and in the first half against Bristol City. The temptation will be to put him straight back at centre-half alongside Kirk Broadfoot as they looked to be forming a good partnership together, but with Farrend Rawson also back fit, could Redfearn be tempted to resurrect the Broadfoot-Rawson partnership which did well last season? That would allow Kelly to switch to right-back in place of Lewis Buxton who has been struggling in recent games. 

Can they provide some festive cheer?

Even if the Millers can beat Hull – a side packed full of international quality and tipped for promotion – they are resigned to spending Christmas in the bottom three and for some that is even more depressing than a burnt turkey and Father Christmas not turning up. And the Millers fans deserve some festive cheer and to be sent home with a warm feeling inside. Regardless of Redfearn's words, the least the fans can expect - and deserve - is a response from the grim performance in West Yorkshire. It may very well be that Hull are too good for the Millers and everyone can accept that – as long as the hosts are seen to be fighting and scrapping for everything throughout the 90 minutes.

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