Rotherham United assistant manager Richie Barker's key message to supporters

Rotherham United assistant Richie Barker (left), pictured alongside manager Paul Warne (centre). Picture: Tony Johnson.Rotherham United assistant Richie Barker (left), pictured alongside manager Paul Warne (centre). Picture: Tony Johnson.
Rotherham United assistant Richie Barker (left), pictured alongside manager Paul Warne (centre). Picture: Tony Johnson.
ROTHERHAM UNITED assistant-manager Richie Barker has stressed that everyone at the club should be proud of the Millers' efforts so far this season - amid a testing mini-spell in the club's campaign.

The Millers' outstanding form has been one of the League One stories of 2021-22, but successive away losses at Fleetwood and Accrington and the surprise decision of Freddie Ladapo to hand in a transfer request has ensured that the finish to 2021 and the start of the new year has not been entirely seamless.

Unsettled defender Curtis Tilt has also been recalled by the club from his loan stint at Wigan, while a number of other Millers players are out of contract in June, with their medium to longer-term futures being uncertain.

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Despite some unwanted distractions this month - and concerns among some supporters - Barker insists the bigger picture is extremely healthy for the Millers, whose scheduled game with Lincoln City on Tuesday night has been postponed due to a frozen pitch following a pitch inspection.

He said: "We are in a wonderful position and a position that everyone at the club would have taken in the middle of July when we were starting out our pre-season training and friendlies and started building this squad.

"Stating the obvious, our aim was to finish as high as possible and then get halfway through the season and see where we are. I think that with two games in hand and an opportunity to go back to the top of the league and also reaching the third round of the FA Cup and the Papa John's Trophy game coming up, it has been a very successful season so far.

"However, that will also be judged by where we come and finish at the start of May. We have not achieved anything yet, but I think that everyone at the football club should be extremely proud of what has happened so far in breaking club records.

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"We have been entertaining in how we play and it has been a good place to come and watch football and it is a group of players - not just players, but as people - that everybody connected with the club should be proud of.

"We are only halfway through, but we have given ourselves a chance."

The Millers' home form is proving a bedrock of their fine campaign and you have to go back to September 11 for their last defeat in all competitions - 14 games ago.

In the league, Rotherham have won their last five matches on home soil and have dropped just two home points since late September, with the total of 32 home goals being the highest number in the division.

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Barker added: "Long may that continue. We need to make it a difficult place for people to come to and get the fans behind us when things are going well and not so well, as well. We always need the fans' help.

"We need to keep the run going, but also know that if you want to get promotion, just picking up points at home is not enough.

"Because of the two games at Accrington and Fleetwood, it will raise questions about away form. But if you lose at home, people then raise questions about your home form.

"To be successful, you cannot make many mistakes and when you do, they get brought up and people want to talk about them, which is why it is important they are few and far between."

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