As Wycombe and Rotherham gear up for a first meeting in over six-and-a-half years, Anton Hill (@anton_hill) fills us in on his beloved Millers and their start to another campaign back in League One.
It’s been an inconsistent start to the season for the Millers, but you seem to be moving in the right direction and performing better than results might suggest. Do you think there was a bit of a hangover after another relegation, and would it be fair to say that you’re in a bit of a false position in the table? We are where we deserve to be in the table. Inconsistency has cost us so far. We started pre-season instilling a style of play into the squad, then only realised its shortcomings when the season was underway. The gaps in the squad in terms of wide players were filled by more than capable players, but things are yet to click consistently. We were hampered in August with games being called off with Bury and Portsmouth, and if we had played and won the game at Portsmouth, we’d be in the top six currently.
We see this as one of our toughest tests so far, but your home form hasn’t been great – whereas you finished with the second best home record in League One in 2017/18. Is there any particular reason for that? Is it still too early to be concerned? Our home record so far is a concern. We’ve failed to beat teams who have come primarily to defend. Coventry and Bolton came to attack and were opened up. Lincoln, Tranmere, Shrewsbury and Oxford all came to frustrate and played with caution, and our lack of penetration saw them all leave with points.
Can you just describe your style of play – and what are your strengths and weaknesses? We play with a direct style, more recently in a 4-4-1-1 formation with a target man. We’ve also tried 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 but seem to have had square pegs in round holes with those line-ups. We have good players all over the park, but the style is hindered when the tempo is disrupted. In full flow, we cause problems; when the game is stop-start, we have problems.
Who, for you, have been your players of the season so far and why? Matt Olosunde has been a standout player for me. Previously at Man United, the 21-year-old right-back has looked quality in his debut senior season. He’s quick, good in the tackle and has distribution to match. [Centre-back] Michael Ihiekwe has also made a great start to the season, and is probably the first name on the team sheet right now.
Last of all, how do you see the game panning out? One thing I’ve noticed from a quick look at the stats is that Michael Ihiekwe looks like one of the few players in this league who can compete with Bayo Akinfenwa in the air – so that could be interesting! Feel free to make a score prediction. I think most Millers fans are hopeful of winning every game we play. There’s no reason to believe we don’t have equally as good players as anyone in the league; we’re just not playing as the sum of our parts just yet. We will either win 4-0 or lose 2-0.