Match preview: Rotherham United v Ipswich Town – Hurst on facing his boyhood club, plus all the team news and stats
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Ipswich Town face newly-promoted Rotherham United at the New York Stadium this afternoon (3pm). Here’s all you need to know.
Rotherham United may be a club close to Paul Hurst’s heart, but the Ipwich Town manager is out for a little bit of revenge today.
The new Blues boss made more than 500 appearances for the Millers as a left-back, playing at League Two, League One and Championship level for the South Yorkshire club.
It was them who inflicted his most painful moment as a manager though when beating his Shrewsbury Town side after extra-time of the League One Play-Off Final at Wembley last May.
By chance, Hurst’s first competitive away trip as Town boss is to the New York Stadium.
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“Rotherham are very close to my heart having spent almost all of my playing career there,” he said. “I’m pleased for them as a football club and pleased for the lads that are there, Paul Warne, Richard Barker, Matt Hamshaw, Mike Pollitt, because I played with three of them.
“They’re very good lads and it will be nice to see them on Saturday, but hopefully it might be my turn to be smiling at the end of the game.”
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He says he gets on well with Rotherham boss Warne, who is a Norwich City supporter and a former Canaries youth player.
“He’s a great character,” said Hurst. “He makes people laugh. He doesn’t want to be a manager, but I think he’s enjoyed it the more success he’s had.
“Fair play to him for sticking with it because he was thrown in at a very difficult time when Rotherham were really struggling in the Championship and that was a real baptism of fire for him.
“This time I’ll know he’ll be a lot more optimistic about his chances in the league and they’ll be better prepared.”
The Millers’ return to the Championship got off to the worst possible start last weekend when they were thrashed 5-1 by Brentford at Griffin Park.
“We know they’re going to be fired up for it,” said Hurst. “I know they’ll be a very fit group of players who will give absolutely everything for Warney and that football club and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready and up for that challenge.
“Yes, it was a heavy defeat at Brentford, but I have to say I’ve watched the game and Brentford played extremely well.
“Rotherham kept going right to the end so, make no mistake, it’s not going to be a team that’s just going to crumble. We’re going to have to earn everything.”
Last five finishes: 4th (Lg One), 24th, 21st, 21st (all Champ’), 4th (Lg One)
Manager: Paul Warne (Nov ‘16) W32 D13 L40
Ground: New York Stadium (capacity: 12,021)
Last weekend: L 5-1 Brentford (a)
Top league scorers 17/18: Moore (13), Ball (8)
Most league assists 17/18: Williams (9)
Most league starts 17/18: Vaulks (38)
Rodak (35), Wood, Towell, Mattock (34)
New signings: Jones (Sunderland, free), Robertson (Blackpool, free), Vassell (Blackpool, free), Vyner (Bristol City, loan), Raggett (Norwich, loan)
Rotherham Utd 1 Ipswich Town 0
Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017
Having just secured safety, an experimental Blues team lost to the rock-bottom Millers courtesy of a goal scored by future signing Tom Adeyemi.
Town won 5-2 on their previous trip to the New York Stadium (Nov ‘15) as Daryl Murphy bagged a hat-trick.
30 – Games Josh Emmanuel started during his loan spell at Rotherham last season
1 – Championships starts among Town’s nine summer signings (Edun) prior to last weekend
111 – Combined league starts made by departed quartet Waghorn, Garner, Webster and McGoldrick last season
Ipswich Town team news
• Grant Ward is available again after missing last week’s 2-2 home draw with Blackburn through suspension.
• Long-term absentees Emyr Huws, Teddy Bishop and Danny Rowe all featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Cambridge on Monday but are nowhere near ready for first team action still.
• Jon Nolan, Toto Nsiala and Kayden Jackson could all make their debuts after being signed this week.
Rotherham Utd team news
• Experienced midfielder Darren Potter is the only player in the treatment room at present.
• Asked if he would make many changes to his side following a 5-1 defeat at Brentford, Paul Warne said: “Hursty will be watching this, so I better pick my words carefully. Brentford are an amazing team so it would be wrong of me to make numerous changes based on that. I have to pick the best 11 players who can go toe-to-toe with Ipswich.”
• The Millers have a dearth of central midfield options at present and will be looking to strengthen in the loan market.
Opposition key man
The Australian winger is direct, skilful and not afraid to get stuck in either. The ex-Barnsley man is dangerous on his day but end product can sometimes let him down.
Rotherham United 16/11
Ipswich Town 11/5
David Webb (Lancashire)
17/18 – Yellows: 94, Red: 3
Rotherham Utd 1 Ipswich Town 1
This new-look Blues side may need time to find their feet.