Rotherham v Brighton: Millers must cut out any early frailty

Danny Ward is hoping for a recall to Rotherham United's ranks against Brighton after recent injury Picture: Paul Wickson).
Danny Ward is hoping for a recall to Rotherham United's ranks against Brighton after recent injury Picture: Paul Wickson).
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Only by virtue of the gap they had built up have Rotherham United avoided falling into the Championship’s relegation zone in recent weeks.

But a run of four straight defeats – their longest negative sequence in over two years – has come at a bad time and, with six games to go, it is imperative they snap out of it now.

Wigan Athletic and Millwall have, match by match, eaten into what at one stage was a sizeable deficit to reduce the arrears to four points.

Millwall’s win over Charlton on Good Friday means they have the initiative now in the race to catch Rotherham, who have done nothing in recent times to reel in other teams above them.

Fulham, Reading, Huddersfield, Brighton and Bolton are within six points of the Millers and will still be looking anxiously over their shoulders. Which means the visit of Brighton to the New York Stadium today is a vital game for the Millers if they are to turn the tide and kickstart their clamber to safety.

And if they are to make any headway today then a fast start is crucial.

Because a constant theme in the Millers’ recent form has been their propensity to fall 2-0 behind.

Six times in the last nine games they have conceded the first two goals – against Wolves, Watford, Cardiff City, Wigan Athletic, Nottingham Forest and latterly, Birmingham City – 
and on each occasion they have lost.

It could be a trend that comes back to haunt them come May 2, when they visit Elland Road to face Leeds United in the Championship’s season finale.

Rotherham do at least have good memories to fall back on today against a Brighton side against whom they were competitive in their October meeting at the Amex Stadium, earning a 1-1 draw.

Chris Hughton’s side may not be out of the woods yet, but have picked up points at more regular intervals than the Millers in the last month, losing only two of their last six games.

On three previous visits to Yorkshire this season, the Seagulls have beaten Leeds United and drawn with Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield.

Kari Arnason is back for the Millers after a two-match ban while Danny Ward is also pushing for a start.

Last six games: Rotherham LWLLLL; Brighton WLDDWL.

Referee: K Wright (Merseyside).

Last time: Rotherham 0 Brighton 1; August 5, 2006; League One.