Rotherham United travel to local rivals Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon in the Sky Bet Championship having seen results go their way last weekend.
A 2-1 home win for the Millers was supported by MK Dons and Charlton Athletic conceding late goals to throw points away, leaving Neil Warnock’s side just three points from safety.
Manager Warnock will be relishing the trip to Hillsborough, and will be hoping to build on last week’s solid home win and push the Millers closer towards the pack above them.
Sheffield Wednesday on the other hand enter the game without a win in three, and will be without Fernando Forestieri after he was sent off for the second time in a week at Hull City last Friday.
Manager Carlos Carvalhal will be hoping his side’s home form sees them through and secures a vital three points, but will be also aware that anything can happen in a local derby.
FootballLeagueWorld writer Lee Connor identifies THREE things to look out for in this afternoon’s South Yorkshire derby…
1) The return of Warnock!
Where better to start than with the mention of Sheffield United fan and former manager Neil Warnock’s return to Hillsborough.
Warnock’s presence is likely to ensure a feisty atmosphere inside the stadium. Warnock has made no secret in the past of his dislike for the Owls, and the feeling is mutual from Owls fans towards him, with plenty of banter and chants expected to be directed at him this afternoon.
This though will suit Warnock down to the ground though, as it will divert the attention away from his players and on to him, something which he has been a master of during his managerial career.
Nothing would please Warnock more than to walk away from S6 with three points today, ensuring Rotherham continue to put up a fight for survival, while he will no doubt have a wry smile on his face as well when he leaves the ground.
2) The Owls need a win
Wednesday have drawn two and lost one of the last three games, something which is a bit of unknown territory for them this season given their form.
A win for Birmingham City over Hull City on Thursday has seen the Blues climb to within a point of the Owls, while a Cardiff City win this weekend would further increase the pressure on the stuttering Owls.
It is a testing time for the Owls, and it will show if they mean business with regards to promotion.
A win and three points will put them back to four points clear of Birmingham, and give them some much-needed breathing space and confidence as we approach the business end of the season.
3) Millers doomed with defeat?
In 33 encounters with the Owls throughout history, the Millers have won only 11 games, losing 17 in the process and managing just the five draws.
They have not beaten the Owls in any of the last three meetings, and their last win at Hillsborough came in 2002, when a 2-1 scoreline saw them leave Sheffield with all three points.
The Millers could well do with a return to that form and would most definitely take a similar result in today’s fixture.
A loss for Rotherham though, coupled with MK Dons potentially beating QPR at home, would leave the Millers six points short of safety, and surely with too much to do between now and the end of the season.
It could well be a season-defining game for them, and one they will be desperate to win for more than one reason.
Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham fans… what do you think the score will be this afternoon? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!