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Rotherham 0 Birmingham 0: Five things we learned

Rotherham began life under Neil Warnock with a battling 0-0 draw with play-off chasing Birmingham.

It was a spirited display by the Millers, who had only one training session with their new manager before the game, but they were unable to do enough to earn the win.

Here's five things we learned from the game.

The Millers are staring down the barrel
The grim irony is that even though the Millers put in a battling performance and looked far more solid at the back than they have in recent weeks, results elsewhere have left them in a worse position in the table. Back-to-back wins for Bristol City and four points in two games from MK Dons mean that the Millers are now five points from safety and staring down the barrel. To recover from this position is going to take some effort and will undoubtedly mean they have to win games they are not expected to in the next month. The Dons took four points from games against Middlesbrough and Derby, while Bristol City beat Ipswich on Saturday. The Millers are going to have to pull some similar rabbits out of the hat if Warnock is going to be successful in his mission.

The Neil Warnock effect
Reverting back to a 4-4-2, using square pegs in square holes, a hard-working pressing display and getting the ball forward as quickly as possible, the Millers showed all the hallmarks of a typical Neil Warnock side and it brought its rewards with a clean sheet and a decent point. Players have spoken about how they have been impressed with Warnock's positivity around the club and on Saturday's showing they responded to him on the pitch. All that came after just one albeit gruelling training session on Friday, so if more work can be done during the week then hopefully we will see even more of an improvement.

Greg Halford can play a role
Greg Halford's trial and tribulations at Rotherham have been well documented, but Neil Redfearn's exit has given him a clean slate and the club's marquee signing and highest earner will now get the chance to earn his money under Warnock. Named in the matchday squad for the first time since October, he made his first appearance since September 15 when coming on as a substitute and to his credit performed admirably. Despite coming on as a right winger - where he played regularly at Bramall Lane under Warnock - he was back in central defence within a minute following Richard Wood's dismissal. He made some vital interceptions, was cool on the ball and positioned himself well. He may well get a chance there next week with the suspension of Wood. Oh, and he looks so much better now he has shed the top-knot.

Desperate for central midfield additions
It was something that Redfearn was wanting to improve and Warnock knew from just one training session that the Millers are light in central midfield. The Millers are undoubtedly missing Lee Frecklington's bursting box-to-box energy and with a central berth not suiting Grant Ward, they have been forced to pair Richie Smallwood and Paul Green in the middle. And unfortunately they are probably just too similar to play together effectively. Smallwood's usually impressive consistency has dropped in recent weeks and he probably needs a Frecklington-type next to him for him to flourish. Green has been solid and certainly let no one down in recent weeks, but has not got the legs to be a box-to-box dominator. Additions could be key.

Warnock's old nemeses
Warnock joked after the match that referees are one thing that he has not missed while he has been out of the game. Perhaps Warnock should count himself lucky as unfortunately Rotherham have had to put up with officiating like that seen by Richard Clark for months. Clark was nit-picking, missed blatant fouls for both teams and sent two Millers off. In fairness, Wood's dismissal was probably deserved as he crunched Clayton Donaldson on both occasions. However, he needed reminding by Birmingham players that he had already booked Joe Mattock when he decided to issue another yellow card deep into injury time for time wasting and it was very nearly a Graham Poll moment. Mattock's was harsh as he gave the left-back no prior warning to hurry things up when taking the throw-in, instead reaching straight for his pocket.

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