#blog-pager{clear:both;margin:30px auto;text-align:center; padding: 7px;} .blog-pager {background: none;} .displaypageNum a,.showpage a,.pagecurrent{padding: 3px 7px;margin-right:5px;background:#E9E9E9;color: #888;border:1px solid #E9E9E9;} .displaypageNum a:hover,.showpage a:hover,.pagecurrent{background:#CECECE;text-decoration:none;color: #000;} .showpageOf{display:none!important} #blog-pager .showpage, #blog-pager .pagecurrent{font-weight:bold;color: #888;} #blog-pager .pages{border:none;} - See more at: http://labstrikes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/add-calendar-style-date-widget-for-blog-post.html#sthash.Js2lbh9N.dpuf


A bitesize analysis of Rotherham's superb run of form

When Rotherham slumped to a limp 1-0 defeat at Reading on February 23 their season was about to flat-line.

They had no wins in seven games, the first three outings of Neil Warnock's reign had offered little in the way of a response from the players and they were six points adrift of safety - eight had it not been for a last-gasp equaliser from 10-man Huddersfield at MK Dons.

But fast-forward to four weeks later and the Millers have made a miraculous recovery, picking up a staggering 13 points from five games, four of those against teams harbouring promotion ambitions. The Warnock effect has been in full swing.

It has been a stunning turnaround and as they now sign off for the final international break of the season they will return next month out of the bottom three, two points above MK Dons, who occupy the final relegation spot, and with a realistic chance of staying up.

Here's a bitesize analysis of Rotherham's month to remember.

Magic March

The 10 points Rotherham won in March - which came courtesy of wins over Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Ipswich and a draw with Derby, is their best monthly tally since their return to the second tier and the best at this level since December 2003 when Ronnie Moore's side took 13 from five games. The most they managed last season was eight points in April. 

It is the biggest cumulation they have taken in any month at any level since a fabulous month - incidentally also March - in 2014 when Steve Evans' side charged towards the play-offs with 14 points, though that came from seven games.

Only Burnley have managed as many points this month, but given the stature of Rotherham's opponents, Warnock has to be a certainty for the manager of the month gong.

Form table

The Millers have been lingering at the wrong end of the table for the entire season so far, in fact they have never been higher than 20th - their current position, one they held after back-to-back wins in September and then again after beating Brighton in January. So, isn't nice to see them at the top end of a table for a change?

Points per game

Saturday's win over Ipswich represented a landmark occasion for the Millers. It was the first time this season their points tally exceeded the number of games they have played. Taking their tally to 39, they are averaging 1.03 points per game and if they continue on that ratio for the rest of the season they will finish on 47 points. That would be enough to keep them up based on this estimate earlier in the season, but that was made before the Millers, MK Dons and Bristol City all went on good runs.

It goes without saying that the PPG ratio has gone through the roof under Warnock. In the last five games they have averaged 2.6. His overall spell, although only eight games, has seen the Millers claim 1.75 PPG. A wild leap, but had they been able to achieve that ratio over the course of the season they would currently be fifth. 

Perhaps it is unfair to do a comparison given the short nature of two of the spells, but unsurprisingly Warnock's PPG ratio is the best of any of the three managers Rotherham have had this season. Evans left with 0.88 from his nine games while Redfearn's was 0.85 from 20.

For reference, in winning 49 points last season - ignoring the three-point deduction - the Millers averaged 1.07. 

So somewhere between their current ratio of 1.03 PPG and Warnock's current average of 1.75 PPG will probably be enough to keep the Millers up.

Racking up the wins

Thanks to the recent winning spree, Rotherham have already levelled the number of victories they managed last season on 11, with eight games to go. The Millers' defeats, which at 21 is still the highest in the division, and inability to draw games prior to Warnock's arrival remain a key factor in their struggles this season.

Interestingly, at the same stage last season the Millers had amassed 40 points from their 38 games, one more than they have now.

The most wins they have ever recorded in a 46-game season at this level was 15 in 2002-03.

A swinging difference

When Rotherham lost at Reading, Fulham drew 1-1 at Leeds to move 10 points above the Millers. Now, five games later the Millers are a point above the Cottagers, representing an 11-point swing in their favour. They are two points ahead of MK Dons, marking an eight-point swing over Karl Robinson's side. As well as helping their own grave situation, the Millers' form has definitely brought Fulham back into a fight they thought they were out of and perhaps the same could be said for Brentford, who are now just six points above the dropzone having lost seven out of eight games.

The turnaround

If Rotherham can manage to stay up, and at the moment it's still a big if, then the win against Brentford might just end up being the most pivotal afternoon of the whole season. After the Bees were awarded an outrageous penalty to make it 1-1 on the stroke of half-time, the MK Dons had just taken the lead at Blackburn, meaning the Millers had slipped to seven points from safety in the live table. Then things swung again as both Rotherham and Blackburn scored in the 71st minute to go ahead in their respective games and cut the gap back to three. There was more drama, though, as Alex Revell, of all people, put MK Dons back level with four minutes remaining at Ewood Park and the gap was up to four. But then with the last action of the game, Blackburn found a winner and the gap was back to four points. From six to three, to seven, to three, to four, back to three. 

(If the maths seems skewed here, it's because when MK were beating Blackburn, they leapfrogged them in the table, leaving Rovers the nearest team to the Millers).

Likewise, just how important Carl Baker's penalty miss for MK Dons in injury time against Brighton on Saturday might prove to be remains to be seen, while the three goals rescued by Rotherham against Derby which earned them a point could also prove decisive. Whatever happens, though, there's certain to be more twists and turns in the next eight games.

A cautionary note

As well as the Millers have done over to get themselves in this position, the job is far from done. Indeed it is a sobering thought to note that such an amazing run of form, winning games that no one expected to, has only left them two points clear of the drop zone. It's highly frustrating, the true reward for such a set of results feels like it should be a climb into the lower reaches of mid-table or a bit more breathing space at least. But the reality is, they are still one defeat away from heading back into the bottom three. There's more drama to come.

Latest News




Copyright 2016