WINLESS Rotherham Titans may be bottom of the Championship but their suffering fans will “forgive everything” if they can prosper in this afternoon’s South Yorkshire derby.
That is the view not from their own camp but Doncaster Knights, whose club captain Matt Challinor, ahead of the Clifton Lane meeting, knows their fierce rivals better than most having both supported and played for them.
Rotherham have lost all 11 league games so far and remain firm favourites for relegation given they are already 17 points adrift of safety.
But Challinor said: “We’ve studied their last few games and there has definitely been an improvement.
“They will be fired up for this and there’ll have been some heart-to-hearts at training this week.
“It’s a must-win for them. I know there’s 10 games after this but if they don’t get a result in this you do wonder where a win is going to come from for them.
“They’ll be geed up. I know a lot of their supporters would pretty much forgive everything if they just beat us.”
He played for his hometown Rotherham before joining Doncaster in 2010, going on to make more than 200 appearances for the Knights.
The 33-year-old conceded it is painful to witness the predicament his former club are in.
“When I was younger and they were in the Premiership, I used to go watch home and away,” recalled Challinor.
“It is sad to see them like this now, bottom and winless.
“They have turned a bit of a corner, though, and from that preview we’ve done, they have been playing some good stuff.
“But I suppose losing becomes a bit of a habit and when you’re in that sort of form you’re half expecting a calamity to happen and the other team to win.
“It’s not great to see but it is what it is and we have to concentrate on ourselves.
“We think we’re better than the eighth spot we’re in and know a win could see us up to fourth.”