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In Focus: Rotherham United

17 June 2013

The penultimate team featured in our ‘In Focus’ look at the new sides in League 1, is newly-promoted Rotherham United.

Steve Evans – 50-year-old Evans was appointed manager of Rotherham United in April 2012 after opting to leave Crawley Town.

A striker during his playing days, Evans’ managerial career began at United Counties Football League side Stamford, whom he guided to promotion before joining Boston United. After winning two promotions at York Street, in a tenure marred in controversy, Evans made the switch to up-and-coming Crawley Town. Claiming the Conference title in 2011, Evans managed the Red Devils for another season before moving to Rotherham.

Evans’ first success as manager of the Millers came at the end of last season, when he claimed his fourth promotion as a manager by guiding United to a second-place finish in League 2.

Key and notable players:
Daniel Nardiello – A former Manchester United youngster, Nardiello joined Rotherham United in May 2012 on a two-year-deal.

The 30-year-old striker, who netted his first goal for the club on his full debut, scored 19 times in 41 appearances last season as helped take the Millers back to League 1. 

Evans and Rotherham United will no doubt be doing all they can to keep Nardiello at New York Stadium in 2012/13.

Ben Pringle – Joining Rotherham United in summer 2011, Pringle has made over 60 appearances for the Millers, 41 of which came last season.

The 23-year-old midfielder, who has played for Derby County and Torquay United in his short career so far, finished 2012/13 with nine assists and seven goals to his name.

Pringle was rewarded with a new two-year contract at New York Stadium for his impressive performances.

Michael O’Connor – O’Connor began his football with Crewe Alexandra and, after a brief spell with Scunthorpe United, joined the Millers last summer on a free transfer.

The Northern Irish midfielder played 32 times for Rotherham United last season as he helped lead them to promotion in a highly-competitive League 2.

O’Connor is a Northern Ireland international and has 10 caps to his name.

One to watch – Kieran Agard. 23-year-old Agard only started 12 games for Rotherham United last season but still managed to get on the scoresheet six times. The former Everton and Yeovil Town forward will be itching to become a regular in 2013/14 and, with his goal-scoring record, could be a threat to League 1 defences.

Daniel Nardiello in action for Rotherham United last season

Stadium: New York Stadium (12,021 capacity)
Nickname: The Millers
Kit: Red shirts, white shorts, red socks.

Officially formed as Rotherham United in 1925, the Millers originally began playing in amber and black before changing to their well-known red and white kit three years later.

United won their first League title in 1951 when they were crowned champions of Division Three and a year later they went to record their highest ever League finish of third in the second division, missing out on a place in the top-flight on goal average. 

Since then, the Millers have spent most of their time in the bottom two divisions of the Football League, except for a four year spell in what is now known as the Championship between 2001 and 2005.

The Millers, under new boss Steve Evans, started the 2012/13 season in indifferent form and they found themselves in mid-table heading into December.

Rotherham’s inconsistency continued throughout the festive period and they suffered several surprise defeats, most notably against strugglers Barnet in early January. In fact, it wasn’t until February that the Millers started to put together a decent run of results as they made a push for the automatic promotion spots in League 2.

Rotherham failed to win just four times in their final 12 games as they climbed above fellow promotion rivals Port Vale, who had spent the majority of the year in second.

Keen to record back-to-back promotions this season, Evans and Rotherham United have been busy throughout the off season as they prepare to build a squad capable of challenging for a place in the Championship.

The Millers began by extending striker Alex Revell’s contract through to 2015 after he scored nine goals in their promotion-winning season last year. Mark Bradley and youngster Mitchell also had their contracts extended.

United then made their first addition to the squad in early June by securing the services of full-back Joe Skarz after his contract ran out at Bury, with the Millers adding two more players soon after in the form of right-back Richard Brindley and goalkeeper Adam Collin, the latter having spent the past four years with Carlisle United.

In terms of out-goings, Rotherham released experienced goalkeeper Andy Warrington following a six-year association with the Football Club while defender Dale Tonge and 18-year-old forward Alec Denton were also released.

Not only that, United placed four players, Kayode Odejayi, Lionel Ainsworth, Nicky Hunt and Ian Sharps, on the transfer list, all of which have yet to move from New York Stadium.

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