ROTHERHAM UNITED’S final home game of last season was not an occasion for the faint-hearted, but the contrast 12 months on could not be starker – or more refreshing.
The Millers, for those not in the know, clinched their Championship safety on a night of considerable tension on April 28, 2015 with a 2-1 victory over Reading, prompting delirious scenes at the final whistle.
The drama will be considerably less this afternoon against Blackburn Rovers, but there will still be an overwhelming sense of pride and occasion as the hosts savour retaining their divisional status for a second successive season – albeit in rather more comfort.
Millers supporters will be on hand to offer their thanks to Neil Warnock for rolling back the years and orchestrating an outstanding escape mission, although the man himself, typically, is staying competitive until the end.
The Millers effectively clinched safety following their comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of MK Dons on April 9, but Warnock is mindful of the Millers’ proud 11-match unbeaten run.
The sequence stretches back to February 23 and is the club’s best at this level since one under Emlyn Hughes in the Spring of 1982.
Warnock, whose future will be decided after the Millers’ season ends at Hull City next weekend, is intent on extending that run and it would represent a fitting achievement if it remained intact come May 8.
Warnock said: “We are over the line now. There will be some tired legs, but we want to finish on a high. Our last home game, let’s have a go.
“You look at the league table and there’s no reason why we can’t climb a couple of places.”
Meanwhile, Warnock says that the club should be resigned to losing impressive loan winger Grant Ward, with the veteran boss admitting that it is unlikely that the Spurs man will return to the club next season.
Warnock said: “We will lose Grant Ward. If I am being honest, I can’t see us getting him again next year.”