It’s the last game before the international break with another game on the road as we face Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. It will be the first meeting between the two sides since New Year’s Day of 2019 where Rotherham came out 2-1 winners.
It’s back-to-back away games for North End after a very impressive win down south on Wednesday night where we ran out 3-0 winners with a very good performance.
It seems as though playing away from home is suiting us much more at the minute with 4 wins and one draw bringing us our entire points total so far, we’re also only one of two teams to remain unbeaten away from home in the Championship so far this season with Swansea being the other side. Hopefully, we can make it 5 wins from 6 on the road as we visit Yorkshire this weekend.
As for the home side, they’ve had a somewhat poor start to the season, only picking up 2 wins all and finding themselves sat in 19th. Their two wins have come against Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe as well as picking up a single point against Birmingham, Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest.
The first player I’d personally see as a danger in this Rotherham side is former Newcastle midfielder Dan Barlaser. We apparently held an interest in signing the midfielder whilst he was on loan at Accrington but a move never materialised.
The 23 year old, is Rotherham’s top scorer this season with 2 goals in his 6 games, but the midfielder does have potential to make an impact on games and should be someone to watch running in between the lines and dropping into pockets of space.
Secondly, the other player I would keep an eye out for is Florian Jozefzoon. The winger is on loan from fellow Championship club Derby County after falling down the pecking order in the Midlands, but the winger still possesses a lot of quality on his day.
He’s represented the Netherlands at youth level as well as having a very successful spell at Brentford before moving to Derby County in 2019 for a fee around £2.75m. The winger is certainly someone we will need to be wary of, especially with our poor record of defending crosses into the box from wide areas.
Up for the opposition view today we have Matt Lax, one of the team behind the unofficial Rotherham United podcast. You can find them on twitter here – @rufc_pod.
The promotions for teams out of League 1 and 2 from last season will probably go down as the most strange in English football history as they were decided on points per game. Having said that, and I am sure Coventry feel the same here, but in my opinion, we deserved the promotion.
It was odd and disappointing not to be able to celebrate it properly but it was still a great feeling to have another promotion back to the Championship under our belts.
Having not had a game for six months we were all feeling excited about the new season and our season started very well, a late 1-0 win away at Wycombe started us on the right track.
However, following on from that victory, you could say that the rest of the season has not gone the way we would have liked with only one win since then, and our last two games were probably the worst two performances of the season so far. We are currently having problems creating chances and having started the season relatively well from a defensive point of view, the last few goals we have conceded have been extremely poor.
However, we are still positive and we have probably got the best team in terms of individuals since the 80s, we just lack a cutting edge in attack. Even though we are confident, most Rotherham fans would be happy to accept safety this season.
It is difficult to pin down a full XI for Saturday as we are in the midst of a rising injury crisis with our first and second choice left backs both injured, along with one of our best midfielders so far this season, Shaun MacDonald breaking his leg last week as well.
But, on we go so my prediction is we will play a 4-3-3/4-5-1: Jamal Blackman; West Harding, Michael Ihiekwe, A. MacDonald, Trevor Clarke; Jamie Lindsay, Dan Barlaser, Matt Crooks; Flo Jozefzoon, Freddie Ladapo, Mickel Miller.
After seeing Preston’s away form this season, I would settle for a draw on Saturday. I will go for a score draw at 1-1.
After defying the odds on Wednesday night against table-toppers Reading, I will cautiously say I think we’ll comfortably win on Saturday. I think Rotherham have improved on their squad from the last time they were in the Championship, but I still don’t think it comes close to the side we have.
The game on Wednesday night will give the lads a huge confidence boost, especially the likes of Emil Riis who capped another fantastic performance with his first goal in Lilywhite.
I also think a player who went somewhat unnoticed was Joe Rafferty. I actually think he is a lot better playing on the left-hand side. Hopefully, that gives Raff the confidence to put in another solid performance in on Saturday, should the gaffer choose him.
Although I think there will be changes, I think it’ll be a strong side as we have a break after the game, and who knows, a good result on Saturday and with the two Bens closer to a return (you would think), after the international break, the next outing might see us kill two birds with one stone and win at home whilst breaking our shoddy post-international break record.
So as for a starting XI, I think we’ll see the following: Declan Rudd; Darnell Fisher, Patrick Bauer, Jordan Storey, Joe Rafferty; Ryan Ledson, Alan Browne; Tom Barkhuizen, Daniel Johnson, Scott Sinclair; Emil Riis.
As for a result, I’m going to go for back to back 3-0 wins with Emil Riis getting himself on the scoresheet once again.
If you haven’t yet listened to the lads on the From the Finney podcast yet, why not listen now before the game? They discuss our 3-0 win against Reading and look ahead to Saturday’s game against Rotherham. You can stream the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you usually listen. Also, you can stream it here, directly on our website. We’re also on twitter here – @fromthefinney.