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Preview: Rotherham United v Wycombe Wanderers


For the very first time in the history of Wycombe Wanderers, the club sits bottom of the Football League. Almost twenty years after reaching 'the promised land' the Chairboys suffered the ignominy after losing 3-1 to Northampton Town at the Sixfields Stadium.

It was a textbook lesson in how to lose football matches. The Blues combined a failure to take a host of chances, with full-back Charles Dunne and striker Dean Morgan both hitting the woodwork, with a failure to stop conceding chances at the other end. Wycombe fans have had a long time to get used to watching a porous defence and they had no answer to the power of the Cobblers, most notably Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Winger Joel Grant continued his fine season to date by pulling a goal back from the penalty spot but it will have come as little consolation to manager Gareth Ainsworth, who has now overseen seven games without a victory and is facing up to a desperate battle to retain the Wanderers' Football League status this season. He made just the one change to his starting line-up at the weekend with full-back Danny Foster returning from a groin injury. That meant Charles Dunne could revert to the left-back position and Sam Wood pushed forward onto the left wing.

Change is very much something that supporters want to see and most particularly losses turned into victories. It could be argued that change is one thing the club has seen far too much of in the last six months, with new owners, a new manager and an ever changing team prompted by a succession of injuries. There is a clamour for new signings but Ainsworth has been quick to dampen expectation on that front, stating that he doesn't think there will be many new arrivals in January.

Next up for the Blues is a first ever visit to the New York Stadium, which sounds rather highfalutin until you realise it is in Rotherham. One doesn't wish to be unkind but the Millers aren't a particularly likable club at present. This is certainly unfair on their fans but an overbearing owner in Tony Stewart would be bad enough had he not taken it upon himself to appoint the loathsome Steve Evans as manager. Last month he concluded a six-match stadium ban after being found guilty of 'using abusive and insulting words and behaviour with a reference to gender' whilst manager of Crawley Town.

He has spent a considerable amount of Stewart's money in an attempt to get the Millers promoted from League Two this season but it would be fair to say it is not going according to plan. His stadium ban saw them slip down the table and they were thrashed 5-0 away at Dagenham and Redbridge ten days ago. Whilst their away form may bring cause for concern, they are a different proposition at their new home and have won the last four games on their own patch to take them back up to 8th place in the current standings.

The Chairboys will be making their eighth visit to Rotherham this week. The first meeting between the sides came back in January 1995 when Martin O'Neill's side endured a miserable afternoon. The hosts took an early lead through Andy Hayward after a defensive mix-up. Simon Garner almost levelled when his effort came back off the post but Steve Brown put through his own net late-on to give the hosts a 2-0 victory. It was only marginally better in March 1996 when a dull encounter under Alan Smith ended in an entirely forgettable goal-less draw.

Our miserable record at Millmoor continued in January 1997 under John Gregory when the side were beaten 2-1. Michael Forsyth conceded a first half penalty which the hosts converted and Lee Glover doubled their lead after the break. Dave Carroll pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Neil Davis had been fouled deep in injury-time. The Blues next visit came in September 2000 during the height of a 'fuel crisis.' Defender Guy Branston headed the home side in front early on and despite having defender David Artell sent off for bringing down Jermaine McSporran on the edge of the box, they held on to claim a 1-0 victory.

The last trip to Millmoor came in January 2008 under Paul Lambert. Over 6,500 fans packed in to see Stephen Brogan thump home a 25-yard free-kick to give the hosts the lead inside the opening quarter of an hour. The visitors equaliser was just as spectacular as Scott McGleish curled home a peach of a shot into the top right-hand corner of the net from outside the box to seal a 1-1 draw.

The final two visits were actually to Sheffield during the Millers sojourn at the Don Valley Stadium. The first, in November 2008 saw Peter Taylor's side grind out a goal-less draw. Eleven months later Gary Waddock's team put in a completely different performance as they enjoyed a thoroughly deserved 4-3 victory. Ainsworth's deflected cross was tapped home by Kevin Betsy before Matt Bloomfield and Ben Strevens came up with spectacular strikes from outside the area to give the visitors a 3-2 half-time lead. With just seven minutes remaining Betsy was up-ended in the box and Scott Rendell scored from the spot to claim all three points and leave home boss Ronnie Moore apoplectic with rage.

Gareth Ainsworth is almost certainly going to rely on the same eighteen players which were involved at Northampton last weekend. The current injury list is as follows...

Danny Foster (Right Back) - available (returned from a groin injury last weekend)

Matt McClure (Attacker) - available (returned from a hamstring injury last weekend)

Anthony Stewart (Right / Centre Back) - thigh injury (hopeful of a return to training later this week)

Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - back injury (hopeful of a return to training later this week)

Matt Spring (Midfielder) - calf injury (hopeful of a return to training later this week)

Jo Kuffour (Attacker) - ankle ligament injury (hopeful of a return to training later this week)

Marvin McCoy (Right Back) - ankle ligament injury (has returned to training, could be back in two to three weeks)

Grant Basey (Left-Back) - anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (will miss the rest of the season after surgery)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - groin injury (no timescale for recovery given)

The Wanderers lined-up like this last time out (4-4-2):

Jordan Archer

Danny Foster - Dave Winfield - Leon Johnson - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Josh Scowen - Stuart Lewis - Sam Wood

Dean Morgan - Dennis Oli

Subs: Lee Harrison, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Bruno Andrade, Gareth Ainsworth, Junior Morais, Matt McClure, Oliver Taylor.

Rotherham United will be looking for a fifth successive home win against the Blues this week. They came from behind to beat Cheltenham Town 4-2 at the New York Stadium last weekend. Steve Evans was able to name defender Craig Morgan in the side after he recovered from an ankle injury, but he then fractured a small bone in his fibula and is set for six weeks on the sidelines. That could see midfielder Michael O'Connor forced to deputise in the centre of defence.

The Millers squad currently features three ex-Chairboys, although only one of them will feature this week. Pantomime villain Alex Revell is set to lead the line again. He has scored just one goal in his last eleven appearances. Goalkeeper Scott Shearer is sidelined with a long-term knee injury whilst winger Lionel Ainsworth is ruled-out with a shoulder problem.

Midfielder Mitchell Rose was included on the bench after he overcame a leg injury. Midfielder David Noble missed out however with an ankle injury. He has returned to training and could be involved in midweek. Defender Dale Tonge is out with both ankle and knee injuries, midfield playmaker Kari Arnason has a shoulder injury, winger Jamie Devitt is struggling with a hamstring problem and striker Kieran Agard is sidelined with a thigh injury.

Rotherham United lined-up as follows last time out (4-4-2):

Andy Warrington

Mark Bradley - Ian Sharps - Michael O'Connor - Josh Morris

Courtney Cameron - Jason Walker - Ian Frecklington - Ben Pringle

Alex Revell - Daniel Nardiello

Subs: Tony Thompson, David Noble, Mitchell Rose, Nicky Walker, Gareth Evans, Luke Rooney, Kayode Odejayi.


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in last place with 13 points and Rotherham in 8th spot with 28 points, both sides having played 17 games.


Roth'ham Home Record....W 7 - D 0 - L 2 - Pts 21...Ppg 2.33 (Rank-1)

Wycombe Away Record....W 2 - D 1 - L 6 - Pts 7....Ppg 0.78 (Rank-21)


Rotherham's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Plymouth (H)............Won 1-0

FAC: Stevenage (H)..........Won 3-2

Lg2: Fleetwood (A)...........Drew 1-1

Lg2: Dagenham (A)...........Lost 0-5

Lg2: Cheltenham (H).........Won 4-2


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Oxford (H).................Lost 1-3

FAC: Crewe (A).................Lost 1-4

Lg2: Aldershot (A)............Drew 0-0

Lg2: Rochdale (H)..............Lost 1-2

Lg2: Northampton (A).........Lost 1-3


Rotherham Goal Stats (20 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 28...Cups: 4...Total: 32

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 25...Cups: 4...Total: 29

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 20...Cups: 3...Total: 23

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 10...Cups: 3...Total: 13

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 7.....Cups: 0...Total: 7


Wycombe Goal Stats (20 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 15...Cups: 4...Total: 19

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 28...Cups: 6...Total: 34

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 9.....Cups: 4...Total: 13

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 18...Cups: 6...Total: 24

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 3.....Cups: 0...Total: 3


Rotherham's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Daniel Nardiello........7

Michael O'Connor.....4

Ben Pringle..............4

Lee Frecklington.......4

Alex Revell..............3

Gareth Evans...........2

Kayode Odejayi.......2

Six other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Joel Grant................5

Dean Morgan............3

OG..........................2

Gareth Ainsworth......1

Bruno Andrade.........1

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Matt McClure............1

Josh Scowen............1

Matt Spring..............1

Sam Wood...............1


Rotherham Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Daniel Nardiello....21 on-target...15 off-target...2 against woodwork

Ben Pringle..........22 on-target...12 off-target...2 against woodwork

Gareth Evans.......13 on-target...16 off-target...3 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Joel Grant..........11 on-target...14 off-target...0 against woodwork

Dean Morgan.....14 on-target.....7 off-target...1 against woodwork

Charles Dunne.....6 on-target.....7 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Roth'ham...124 on target...106 off target...9 against w'work (Rank-1)

Wycombe....61 on target.....69 off target...2 against w'work (Rank-22)


Most Assists

Rotherham - Daniel Nardiello.................2

Wycombe - Ainsworth, Grant & Lewis......2


League Form Guide

All Season


Roth'ham....Pld: 17...W: 8...D: 4...L: 5....Pts: 28...Pts per game: 1.65

Wycombe...Pld: 17...W: 3...D: 4...L: 10...Pts: 13...Pts per game: 0.76


Last Five league Games

Rotherham.....WWDLW - 10 points (Rank-5)

Wycombe............DLDLL - 2 points (Rank-23)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Rotherham.....WLWWW - 12 points (Rank-2)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe...........LWLDL - 4 points (Rank-21)


Against Top Half Opposition

Roth'ham......Pld: 9...Pts: 13...Pts per game: 1.44...(Rank-4)

Wycombe......Pld: 9...Pts: 7.....Pts per game: 0.78...(Rank-21)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Roth'ham......Pld: 8...Pts: 15...Pts per game: 1.88...(Rank-11)

Wycombe......Pld: 8...Pts: 6.....Pts per game: 0.75...(Rank-22)


Previous Meetings

In 14 previous meetings there have been 5 wins for Wycombe, 4 for Rotherham and 5 draws.

In Rotherham the tally is 3 wins for the Millers, 1 for the Chairboys and 3 draws.

1994/95 LG1: Rotherham 2 Wycombe 0

1995/96 LG1: Rotherham 0 Wycombe 0

1996/97 LG1: Rotherham 2 Wycombe 1

2000/01 LG1: Rotherham 1 Wycombe 0

2007/08 LG2: Rotherham 1 Wycombe 1

2008/09 LG2: Rotherham 0 Wycombe 0

2008/09 LG2: Rotherham 3 Wycombe 4


The Man In The Middle

Tuesday's referee is Rob Lewis from Shropshire. His most recent Wycombe game was a 1-1 draw at home to Carlisle United in April 2012. During the current campaign he's issued 0 red and 39 yellow cards in 12 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Rotherham 3 Wycombe 1

Len: Rotherham 3 Wycombe 0




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 19 2012

Time: 12:28PM

Your Comments

You do know that we haven't actually spent a penny on players - just their wages. All came on free's or are on loan
herringthorpe
 

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1. Wycombe 18 10 5 3 +12 35
2. Burton 18 11 2 5 +4 35
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4. Shrewsbury 18 10 3 5 +14 33
5. Southend 18 9 4 5 +4 31
6. Plymouth 18 9 3 6 +11 30
7. Bury 18 9 3 6 +6 30

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