We are big enough - Naylor
RICHARD Naylor believes the team that Joe Royle has built is big enough to handle the Championship's bully-boys.A couple of seasons ago a trip to places like Millmoor was no guarantee of any points despite the obvious gulf in class, nowadays the Blues are physically and mentally tougher.
RICHARD Naylor believes the team that Joe Royle has built is big enough to handle the Championship's bully-boys.
A couple of seasons ago a trip to places like Millmoor was no guarantee of any points despite the obvious gulf in class, nowadays the Blues are physically and mentally tougher.
Gritty Yorkshireman Naylor explained how that has changed.
He said: "It is all about personnel and perhaps it was the case in the past that the players we had then, struggled against teams like Rotherham.
"You look at the personnel we have now you know that is not the case now."
While Town have been at the top end of the Division One table every year, bar the two Premiership seasons, Rotherham have been scrapping against relegation ever since they won successive promotions, to end up in Division One in 2002.
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They have a reputation as a bulldozer of a side who have little truck with reputations.
Naylor said: "That is the style Rotherham play. They try and bully teams. They are a big physical team that look to dominate and intimidate and that is how they have stayed in this league. They are good at it and we are not the only team who have struggled against them in the past. We are a lot better equipped to deal with that now. We can deal with that side of things better now than ever before and that is what you need in this league."
The new personnel he talks of include Jason De Vos, the towering Canadian skipper who plays alongside him in central defence and the rugged Kevin Horlock, who also has a sweet left foot.
Naylor said: "Jason is a big physical lad with a big presence and you need someone like that, especially at somewhere like Rotherham
"His height is a great advantage when they are flinging balls in and those extra few inches at the back is a benefit."
Switched from centre-forward to a defensive role by Joe Royle, Naylor admits he is still learning the craft.
He said: "As an inexperienced centre-half you learn from players like Jason and Drissa or people like Johnny Mac in the past."
The 27-year-old is having to learn quickly and adapt to seeing different people alongside him virtually every other game.
He said: "You have to adjust. It is good to play regularly with the same people as you build up an understanding and obviously if there are changes you can't do that."
Although three of the back four looks certain, who plays at left back is wide open with Matt Richards definitely out with a foot infection.
Fabian Wilnis is first choice but he is struggling with a shin injury while on loan Wigan midfielder Tony Dinning is pencilled in, although he has a neck problem.
That means the novice 18-year-old Scott Barron has a good chance of making his league debut after taking his competitive bow for the Blues in the 2-0 Carling Cup win over Brentford in midweek.
Skipper Jim Magilton is fit, although whether he will start is uncertain as he looks for match fitness.
Naylor believes whoever trots out at Millmoor today will return to East Anglia with a win.
He said: "We are going there to get three points and I fancy us to do that. It is a place where we need to get a win if we want to be up there challenging for promotion. We let ourselves down in our last away game and we want to put that right."
Whatever happens, you can rest assured that Town won't slip up because they have been bullied out of the game.