In their final game in hand, the Millers had the chance to control their Championship destiny by claiming the win that would see them go into the last match of the campaign outside of the relegation zone.
As it is, a 0-0 draw at Kenilworth Road leaves them needing to beat Cardiff City on Saturday and hope local rivals Sheffield Wednesday deny Derby County victory at Pride Park.
It could have been more comfortable because although Luton did too, Rotherham missed chances to win the game. Manager Paul Warne’s pre-match words about his team wasting too many opportunities this season proved prescient.
“It’s frustrating, a similar feeling to what we’ve had quite a few times, especially the last few weeks,” admitted centre-back Ihiekwe.
“There was probably a lack of quality from both sides in both halves but it’s a game we wanted to win and we could have if we’d had that extra little bit so it’s frustrating.
“Earlier in the season, to come here and get a point is not the worst result but we need points on the board now. We’ve been in most games this season.
“It’s a bit different when you’re on the pitch and you know that bit extra on the pitch from anyone and you can go on and win a lot more games.
“We’ve lost a lot of games by one goal and that’s not just the strikers, that’s everyone, we needed more goals from all over the pitch.
“It could have been a lot different but it’s come down to the last day and we know we need to win now so there’s no grey area.”
Demoralising as Tuesday night was, Rotherham are still in with a chance of a second consecutive Championship season. Their task has certainly been made simple.
“We just have to look after our own result and hope the other one goes our way,” commented Ihiekwe.
“Going to Cardiff at any point in the season is going to be a tough game but we need to go there and win so everyone will be right on it and we’ll do everything we can to get three points.
“You can’t go under and feel sorry for yourselves.
“We pride ourselves on not getting outfought, outbattled and outrun. No-one can get off with not doing it. We’re in most of the games and that’s the reason why.”
With Covid-19 and weather postponements creating a brutal backlog of fixtures for them, it has been a long slog for Rotherham but it is crucial they go to the well one last time.
“Mentally especially, there’s been loads of ups and downs,” reflected Ihiekwe. “We started the season quite well and we had two Covid outbreaks and loads and loads of games. It’s a weird season – it could be amazing, it could be heartbreaking.”
Rotherham will be without George Hirst on Saturday after the striker injured his hamstring against Blackburn Rovers.
For Sheffield Wednesday fans it at least eliminates the possibility of the son of Owls legend David scoring the goal that consigns them to the third tier.
The Millers, though, need goals wherever they can find them in Cardiff.
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