Rotherham Unted v Swansea City - Millers in good shape to get out of trouble

A change in formation has been the key behind Rotherham United’s recent good run, believes manager Paul Warne.

Paul Warne. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The Millers have picked up 10 points from their last six games to give themselves more than a puncher’s chance of staying in the Championship.

Rotherham currently occupy a place in the bottom three but have two games in hand over the sides immediately above them.

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Such is the congested nature of the table, winning just one of those fixtures could move Warne’s side up three places.

The Millers chief has switched to a 3-5-2 formation during the last six fixtures, an approach which he feels best utilises the squad he has at his disposal.

Rotherham are preparing to welcome high-flying Swansea City, who are one of only five teams to have picked up more points than the Millers during their last six games, to South Yorkshire this afternoon.

“We have changed our shape to play with three centre-halves. We are still conceding goals so we haven’t got the magic answer to everything,” said Warne.

“With three centre-halves it allows our wing-backs to get further up the pitch, at the time we didn’t have many fit wingers so we had to find a different way to play.

“I have been saying for years that I have wanted to play with three at the back, the coaches always joke every pre-season that this will be the year we do it.

“It has sort of been forced on us a little bit this season and since we have played three at the back our performances have been excellent.

“We obviously haven’t won every game, nor would you expect us to, but I think we have tweaked that which has allowed all of our best players to play.

“It is the best system to allow us to play our 11 best players. I think as well it has coincided with certain players coming into good form and getting back up to match fitness at the same time.”

Warne has been using four central midfielders during recent games, something which has led to him looking to strengthen in that area. He won’t rush into any signings and admits that if someone is recruited, they won’t get put straight into the starting 11.

“It is difficult for us to sign better midfielders than what we have got because they are the best that are affordable to us,” he continued.

“If you are playing with a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1, you can get by with five centre midfielders comfortably but when four are playing and you have got five, then that is a problem.

“That is a mammoth task so I think it is common sense to sign another one but that doesn’t mean that I am able to.

“Another midfield option would help us.”

Swansea won 1-0 when the sides last met in December and their recent form has put them second in the table.

Warne is wary of the threat posed by Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe up front, with the pair scoring 17 goals between them this term.

They are City’s most potent threat, with their next best goalscorer, Matt Grimes, claiming three goals this season.

The Millers manager also believes the recent addition of Irish international Conor Hourihane makes the Welsh outfit a danger from set-pieces.

He added: “The best teams ask the most questions and we have got to come up with as many answers as we can.

“At the same time we have to pose them questions they might not have the answers for.

“I know we have a goal threat, we have scored six goals in two games so they are going to have to withstand pressure off us.

“They have got amazing talent, having Conor Hourihane in midfield is some signing. He has probably got the best left foot in the league, so that is a threat at set-pieces.

“And with Lowe and Ayew up top, they have got legs for fun. They are a really good team, hence why they are second.”

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