With the 2018/19 Championship season drawing ever closer, Football League World previews Rotherham United ahead of the new campaign…
Key Player: Will Vaulks
The 24-year-old defensive minded midfielder played a crucial role in The Millers’ promotion from League One last year.
Playing in 52 of Rotherham’s fixtures, the holding player was at the heart of stopping the opposition from mounting attacks on their goal.
Adept at winning the ball in the air, with an eye for a tackle and high concentration levels, Vaulks will need to bring all his attributes to the fore when Rotherham look to attack the Championship.
Rather than wombling on in the middle of the park, Vaulks is pro-active in stopping attacks and help set them up for his teammates.
The midfielder scored eight goals from a deep-lying position for Paul Warne’s promoted side last term.
A holding player is a norm in the Championship, and having bucked the League One trend with going without one, the Millers have prepared for the second tier before even getting there.
Vaulks will be instrumental in Rotherham retaining their second-tier status this season.
One to Watch: Alex Bray
The 23-year-old winger was s bright spark in Rotherham’s Checkatrade Trophy group campaign last term but failed to make more than one appearance for the first team after his league debut.
Instead, he was loaned out to Forest Green Rovers in League Two during the January transfer window.
The winger scored on his debut and featured 11 times in what was an excellent escape for the Football League new-boys having looked certain for a return to the National League.
The experience for a relegation battle, albeit two divisions further down the pyramid, will stand the youngster in good stead, should Warne call upon him in this season’s Championship.
The young man is a prospect having joined from Swansea in 2017 and is rated highly at the New York Stadium.
This could be a breakout season for the winger but don’t be surprised if he makes his name on loan once more.
Rotherham are the longest odds for promotion to the Premier League, which incidentally makes them the red-hot favourites to secure an immediate return to League One after play-off success last year.
The aim for the Millers will be survival at all costs.
They could shock the system and become dark horses for the top flight should they emulate last season’s surprise package, Millwall.
The Lions came up to the Championship via the play-offs the season before last, finishing eighth.
Realistically, however, the Millers have the smallest budget in the division and survival will be toasted like they had made the Premier League.
Survive, consolidate and build that will be the warning Warne will relay to his players.
Stranger things have happened, but Rotherham will be lucky if they aren’t in a basement battle for much of the division, after the initial euphoria of promotion dissipates.