There's just one team placed better than Rotherham in the form table right now: table-topping Burnley can boast better recent results coming into this weekend's fixtures. The Millers are undefeated in their last 5, winning 4, and their victims include the likes of Middlesbrough, Ipswich, Brentford and Sheffield Wednesday. Their draw was earned after a dramatic fight back from 3-0 down at home to Derby County. The game ended 3-3. Leeds United could be in trouble.
In February, Rotherham couldn't buy a win, yet today they have climbed to two places above the drop zone and fancy their chances in the relegation scrap that surely awaits them. So what has changed at the New York Stadium?
Neil Warnock took charge of the Millers on February 16th, kicking off with a goalless draw v. Birmingham City. He has gone on to win four of his 8 games in charge, losing just 2 and thus making a 50% win ratio. Known more for his motivational skills than his tactics, Warnock has rallied a squad largely built by the Manager he replaced, Neil Redfearn. Warnock had initially wanted to add a striker to his squad, but after the resurgence of Leon Best and Matt Derbyshire, he may decide to stick with what he has.
Kings of New York
A young Neil Warnock made 52 appearances for the Millers from 1969 to 1971, scoring 5 goals. At the age of 67, the "Dinosaur" tag sticks, but he has the experience required for a relegation fight, keeping up Torquay and Ipswich in their hour of need. However, after an unpopular stint as manager at Elland Road, largely due to his style of play and the poor signings he made, he was sacked by Leeds United. A valuable 3 points should be motivation enough on Saturday, but revenge against Leeds would make it all the more sweeter for him. A victory over their Yorkshire rivals could mean Millers fans crown Warnock the King of the New York, if only for a day.
The man tasked with ending Rotherham's undefeated run is the former King of the New York, Steve Evans. The Leeds Head Coach, who won promotion with Rotherham, before being sacked a season later, was recently rumored to be in the firing line of trigger happy Leeds President, Massimo Cellino. Given a stay of execution, till the end of the season at least, Evans will enjoy taking charge of this fixture, his first return to Rotherham.
This West v South Yorkshire Derby may not have caught the eye of the Sky TV cameras but has all the ingredients required for an entertaining game, revenge, rivalry and a Rotherham relegation escape act.
Leeds Player to watch
With Doukara now banned for the remainder of the season (that came out of nowhere), this is the perfect opportunity for Chris Wood to re-emerge as our top man. Away from home and so away from the pressure of the Elland Road crowd, this game is tailor made for him to battle back. Not having played many minutes since his return from injury and rested during the International break, Wood should be back to full fitness and keen to get on the score sheet.
Rotherham Player to watch
Leon Best is my Rotherham danger man. Leeds's defense tends to struggle against players with pace, and with Warnock at the helm, expect long balls bypassing midfield for Best to run onto. However, there may be an opportunity for Gaetano Berardi to re-acquaint himself with the former Premier League striker, Best.
Head to Head
At Rotherham, there have been 14 meetings between these Yorkshire rivals. Rotherham winning 8, Leeds 5, with 1 game drawn.
From their last 5 outings, Rotherham have won 4 and drawn 1 game, scoring 8 goals and conceding 4 in the process. Leeds have lost 2 and won 3 games whilst scoring a total of 7 yet conceding 10 goals.
Rotherham United FC v Leeds United
Football League Championship
AESSEAL New York Stadium, Rotherham
BBC Radio Leeds, LUTV
Saturday, April 2, 2016
7:00am PT / 10:00am ET / 3:00pm BT
Silvestri, Taylor, Bellusci, Bamba, Berardi, Bridcutt, Diagouraga, Mowatt, Cook, Wood, Antenucci
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Cooper, Coyle, Murphy, Adeyemi, Dallas, Carayol
Camp, Kelly, Broadfoot, Doyley, Mattock, Halford, G Ward, Smallwood, Frecklington, Derbyshire, Best
Subs: Kenny, Richardson, Wood, Newell, Thomas, D Ward, Clarke-Harris
The improving Rotherham haven't leaked many goals of late. Low scoring draw: 1-1.
So nice to be back watching Leeds United this weekend. It's been too long. Now let's hope we get the Leeds of early March instead of the team we saw against Huddersfield Town. Thanks for reading, leave some comments below and follow along with us at @ThruItAllLUFC and @ThruItAllLIVE on Twitter. #MOT.