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Rotherham United

It's been an interesting start to the 21st century, if you're a Rotherham United fan. In the 1999-2000 season, Rotherham finished second in what is now the Football League Two, gaining promotion to League One. They weren't there for long. On the 28th April 2001, Alan Lee put Rotherham 2-1 up against Brentford at a sold out Millmoor, with that result meaning that Rotherham gained promotion to the Championship. They fought hard for four years, but eventually succumbed to the inevitable, being relegated in 2004-2005 back down to League One. Things got a lot worse.

 

The problem was, the club was in debt. Serious debt. A debt they couldn't solve. They survived their first season in League One on the final day, but a 10 point deduction for financial problems combined with being forced to sell their best players meant that Rotherham slid back down to League Two in 2006/2007. 

Things were looking better in the 2007/2008 season, with 'The Millers' spending most of the year in the automatic promotion places and looking like a shoo-in for promotion - but it wasn't to be. In March 2008, they were hit with another points deduction, which ended their hopes of promotion. Eventually, local businessman Tony Stewart agreed a deal to take over the club. In hindsight, this was the best thing to ever happen to the club - but it certainly didn't feel like it in 2008/2009, when a dispute with the landlords meant that Rotherham were ejected from Millmoor, the club's stadium and home for over 100 years. They struck up a deal to play their games at the Don Valley Stadium for the foreseeable future - but that was the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. Rotherham had been hit with two quickfire relegations, and now the club weren't even able to play their games in their own town. 

 

The fans weren't the only ones who noticed, either. The FA told the club that unless they could fund their own stadium in Rotherham, they'd be forced to enter liquidation and cease to exist as a team. How close was that to actually coming to fruition? Well, put it this way - Rotherham fans had to hold out buckets outside other teams stadiums to try and raise whatever funds they could. Eventually, Tony Stewart was able to purchase the land to buy the New York Stadium - and it's an absolutely beautiful ground. It only holds just over 12,000 people, but that doesn't matter to Rotherham fans. It's theirs. No-one can take that away from them.

After a few seasons of just falling at the final hurdle, Steve Evans was appointed Rotherham's manager in 2012, coming over from Crawley Town. Evans came with a 'reputation' (but that's a story for a whole different time), but he quickly won favour with the fans when, in his first full season as manager in 2012/2013, Rotherham crowned their new stadium back home by coming second in League Two, gaining promotion back to League One. They weren't there for long. In a season that became marked for Rotherham's penchant to fight back and take points from losing positions, a 16 game unbeaten streak saw the team end the season in fourth place. It was Playoff time.

 

They were drawn against Preston for the semi final, and drew the first leg away from home 1-1, with Alex Revell's opener being cancelled out by Joe Garner scoring one of the finest goals in the history of the Football League (seriously, go and watch it). In the home leg, they got off to a nightmare start, with a cross from a free kick evading everyone and bouncing straight in early on in the game. They fought back, and goals from Lee Frecklington, Wes Thomas and Kieran Agard gave the Millers a 3-1 win and sent them off to Wembley.

I've got to be honest - the build up to the Playoff final annoyed me. Their opponents were Leyton Orient, and the coverage for the match was almost exclusively pro-Orient, with Leyton being billed as 'the small team with the big heart' from the East End. The only problem with that is that Rotherham were, if anything, an even smaller club than Orient. In fact, only two of Rotherham's entire squad had been bought for any money - Lee Frecklington for roughly 100k, and Alex Revell - remember that name - from their matchday opponents Leyton Orient for around 50k. 150k to put together hardly screams 'big club', but the media weren't going to let the truth get in the way of good old London bias. Anyway.

 

Orient could easily have gone up automatically that season, but a slide towards the end meant they had to settle for third place. They showed their dominance early on and took advantage of Rotherham's nerves, going 2-0 up in the first half with a stunner from Moses Odubajo and a tap in from Dean Cox after some poor marking from the Millers. They had a chance to equalise with Ben Pringle's volley from 35 yards going close, but at Half Time, it was pretty clear who had the advantage.

Remember Rotherham's penchant for making comebacks? Well, 10 minutes after halftime, Alex Revell stabbed home from close range against his former team to give Rotherham a goal back. Then this happened.

 

I have to be honest, it was pretty fun being in the stands for that one ;)

The teams couldn't be separated after that, and the game went to Extra Time. Both teams had chances, but neither could break the deadlock. Penalties.

Both scored their first penalty, but Lee Frecklington missed Rotherham's second. I wasn't surprised - he'd given everything in the 120 minutes, gone down with cramp more than once, and could barely even walk by the end of the game. Advantage Orient, as they scored their second. Both scored their third. James Tavernier absolutely rammed home Rotherham's fourth, but Mattieu Baudry had his saved by Adam Collin. Deadlock. Richie Smallwood scored Rotherham's fifth, meaning it was all on Chris Dagnall to score.

He didn't.

Adam Collin saved it once again, and Rotherham - somehow - had achieved another back to back promotion, taking them back to the Championship. They were going to be working on the smallest budget in the league, but they were there. After nearly losing their team for good as recently as 2012, there wasn't a sweeter feeling.

 

The 2014/2015 season marked their first in the Championship, and it was nervy. They were clearly outgunned at times, and it was only Blackpool being so terrible that kept them in with a chance of survival. They kept battling away, and it eventually looked like they'd done enough to pull away from Millwall and Wigan at the bottom, when the news broke: Rotherham were being docked three points for fielding an ineligible player. Farrend Rawson had been on loan at Rotherham - initially for a month, but later for the rest of the season - and Rotherham had forgotten to send the paperwork confirming the extension to the F.A. Suddenly, they were in trouble once more. Ultimately, they were able to survive, with a 3-0 win over Reading confirming their safety (and meaning that Steve Evans turned up against Leeds on the final day dressed in a sombrero and beachwear).

2015/2016 wasn't exactly smooth, either. After back to back wins, it was announced that Steve Evans was leaving the club by mutual consent. Neil Redfearn was bought in as the new manager - an experiment that lasted just 21 games. After Rotherham lost to bottom of the table and second bottom in successive games (4-1 to Charlton and 2-1 to Bolton), Tony Stewart had to act. Redfearn was gone, and in came Neil Warnock. He had a tough task ahead of him. Rotherham were six points from safety, and there were just 13 games left.

 

A 2-1 win against Brentford promised good things, but fans really started believe the impossible might be possible when Rotherham knocked off Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 -  Wednesday being Rotherham's main rivals, and a real threat for promotion at the time. Things only got better from there, as after being dominated by Middlesbrough all night, Rotherham raced down the other end in the 88th minute, and Lee Frecklington smashed the ball into the roof of the net to give Rotherham the three points. It looked like Derby were going to halt their undefeated spell in it's tracks, going 3-0 up and utterly outplaying a lacklustre Rotherham side. Well...

 

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Never say die.

 

Rotherham went on an undefeated streak for ELEVEN games, going from surefire relegation candidates to comfortably keeping their head above water. Neil Warnock decided not to stay on as manager in search of another promotion - one that would give him the record for most promotions in history - and Rotherham needed to look for a new manager. In real life, that was Alan Stubbs. He lasted 13 games, which was about 10 games too many. In FM, that's me. I didn't exactly fair much better in my first crack at this, being relieved of my duties with the team five points inside the relegation zone, having picked up 3 points from a possible 30 to end a miserable campaign. It turns out, that was barely scratching the surface of my failings as a manager. I gave it another shot, and we ended up on pace to set the lowest points scored ever in a Football League season.

 

I made some pretty significant mistakes both times:

  • First time round, I didn't put enough points into 'Player Knowledge.' I fixed that in my second try, but massively overestimated who would want to join us. We were being rejected by players plying their trade in Finland. We need to stick closer to home, me thinks.
  • Tactically.. not sure. We actually played well in a lot of the games, but we just didn't have the players in the side who could convert chances, and made some pretty significant mistakes at the back. I've got a couple tactics in mind to start with, but I bloody hope they work.
  • CORNERS. We conceded what amounted to a corner every other game. That cost us a ridiculous amount of points. I still don't have a clue about how to defend corners. Nothing seems to work. We need to fix that, as well as needing to be more efficient with our own set pieces.

 

There's definitely other stuff here, but I can't remember what I was going to say. Basically - do better. Be better in the transfer market, and be less bad when it comes to using those players effectively. Sounds easy enough.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, SpillBlood said:

Will be keeping a close eye on this thread!  Third times a charm!  Good luck :).

Cheers mate! :D 

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The Squad:

Goalkeepers:

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I have to be honest, I'm not happy with Camp's stats on FM. In real life, he's one of the better keepers in the Championship and Rotherham's player of the year, but he looks distinctly average in FM. We may need to upgrade here at some point, but that may not be possible straight away.

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 A career backup who's decent and not taking too high a wage, Price should stick around for a couple of years unless we can find a younger prospect to fill the backup job.

Fullbacks:

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He's probably leaving. He's not fast enough for this league.

 

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Darnell Fisher is going to be our first choice RB. Alan Stubbs bought him in this summer from Celtic for 150k, and he already looks to be well worth the money, being the only player Rotherham have that can defend.  I'm very happy with his stats on FM, and he's one of our better players. His mentals do need a lot of work, though.

 

 

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Joe Mattock looks fairly good - which is handy, because we don't have a single other LB in the squad. Not one. Thing is, he's been woeful in both of my first two attempts. If I can find someone else to play LB while Belaid is injured, he may be on his way out.

 

Centrebacks:

7916461cc0895004f2ae65e99b66794e.png In real life, Greg Halford is a nightmare to manage, extremely argumentative and a liability most of the time. Good thing he's our highest earner in the squad on 8k p/w then. He doesn't look bad, and his versatility could come in handy, but I'm not sure whether he'll be starting for us or not. I don't intend to pay a backup 8k a week, and there's not a chance I'm extending his contract past this year, which basically makes me look at this as a very expensive one year loan. I think we can do better, so I'm going to try and get rid.

 

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Real world liability #2! He looks distinctly average here, although that pace might come in handy. Not taking up a huge wage, either.

 

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Wood doesn't do much to separate himself from the pack. He probably won't play all that often. I may look to sell him in favour of someone younger, if we can find anyone.

 

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Far and away the best CB at the club, Broadfoot's been injured for a long time in real life, and his absence has been pretty noticeable. Hopefully, he can stay healthy on FM.

 

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Bought from Spurs for peanuts this summer, I like Ball's potential, but I don't think he's ready for major playing time just yet - not at CB, anyway. 4 determination is not what you need in a relegation battle. I wonder if loaning him out would be the right move?

 

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Loaned in from Middlesbrough, Fry is an England U19. He looks really good on FM and will be my choice to partner Broadfoot, but we'll see if he makes as many rookie mistakes as he has done in real life. Still, for 2k a week, I can't really complain. 

 

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Injuries have meant that Belaid's only played 3 games since joining Rotherham, and he's out for 3-5 months to start the game, but he could be a very interesting option when he gets back to fitness. I do quite like him, both as a CB and a LB.

 

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Thorpe joined Rotherham after being released by Manchester United, and is currently out on loan at Bolton for the year. I'm undecided over his future.

 

Centre-Midfielders:

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That's more like it. Smallwood is one of the best players at the club - a no nonsense CM who chases absolutely everything. Two years ago, he won Rotherham's Player of the Season, and the club would never have survived without him. Unfortunately, Alan Stubbs loaned him out for the season in one of the worst decisions possible. He's exactly what Rotherham need right now, but we'll have to cope without him for the year.

 

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It's a crime that the New York Stadium doesn't have a statue of Lee Frecklington yet. He's an absolute club legend. The current captain, Frecklington has been with the club since League Two (the only player left at the club that has been), and is potentially the most crucial player to the team. There's just such a difference when Frecklington plays to when he doesn't. He's the first name on the teamsheet when he's healthy - which, unfortunately, isn't all that often, as he has a persistent problem with his calf/hamstring. If we're going to stay up, we need Frecklington healthy.

 

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Bought in this summer from Falkirk for 300k (a big fee for Rotherham), the jury's still out on Vaulks. I'm not sure if he's ready for a starting role.

 

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On loan from Celtic, Allan is more of a 'luxury' player due to how little he offers when he's not in possession. I don't think we're good enough to have a luxury player, and considering he's on a ridiculous 7.25k a week to be a backup player, this is a no-brainer. He's heading back north. We can use that money elsewhere.

 

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On loan from Cardiff, injuries have stopped him really making an impact so far this season. 8k a week though... if I can find a decent CM to loan in for cheaper, Adeyemi's going, but he looks decent enough to stick around otherwise.

 

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On loan from Brighton. On his day, he's a good player. He hasn't had that day once yet. 4.1k a week isn't extortionate though, so he'll stick around.

 

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A youngster out on loan in Norway. I'd like to see him given a chance in real life, but I don't see a future for him here on FM.

 

Wingers:

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Rotherham's record signing, bought in for 500k from Peterborough this summer. I'm incredibly disappointed with his stats. Taylor is absolutely lightning, but thus far has struggled a little with the end product. His stats don't reflect that at all. He's pretty much average everywhere. He'll start for us, but he deserves to be better than he is.

 

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Izzy Brown's been playing in the hole for Rotherham in real life, but I haven't worked out where I want to use him on FM yet, so I'll list him as a winger. An England u19 international on loan from Chelsea, he clearly has an incredibly bright future in the game. I don't think his FM stats quite do him justice, but I should be able to find a spot for him.

 

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A pretty good winger who can also fill in at CM, I'd expect Newell to get a fair bit of gametime this season, but that likely won't be as a starting option to begin the year.

 

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A young winger signed on a free from Walsall in summer. He's not bad, but he's got some growing to do.

 

Strikers:

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This is the one I'm most disappointed with. Danny Ward is clearly too good for Rotherham in real life, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from his FM stats. He's a good striker, but he deserves to be so much better. He's also extremely injury prone, so we could be in trouble there. In real life, he's stayed healthy, and has 8 goals so far in the league. Not bad, considering Rotherham in total only have 17.

 

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This one still hurts. Clarke-Harris is a young striker with all the talent in the world (he was their old record signing, having been bought for 350k from Oldham), but needs more experience and maturity to take his game to the next level. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL 10 minutes into Rotherham's preseason, and he'll miss the majority of this season. One of my favourite players in real life, he'd be starting for sure if he was healthy. As it is, we'll have to wait and see what shape his physicals are in by the time he gets back.

 

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Rotherham went into this season with one senior striker healthy, and that was Ward, who never stays healthy for long. They signed Blackstock on a free to make up for that. He doesn't look great, if I'm honest. 

 

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This is a weird one. Odemwingie signed with the club about three weeks ago on a deal that only takes him up to January. It's a huge coup for the club IRL, but I'm not overly impressed with his stats here. He's good, but is he good enough to start, considering I may only be playing one upfront? Is he good enough to be earning 8k? The short term deal gives us flexibility, at least.

 

Youth Prospects:

Almost non-existent. It's true Rotherham's youth academy is absolutely woeful in real life - and that's going to be something I really try to sort out on the game - but there are two players in real life that I think could make the breakthrough. Lets take a look at them:

 

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Jerry Yates earned a little bit of gametime this year and he impressed, scoring two in his full senior debut against Morecambe in the EFL Cup. He doesn't look terrible on FM.

 

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I'm both disappointed and confused. I'm not saying Bailey-King deserves to be a worldbeater, but he's one of the fastest players at the club, and his pace just doesn't reflect that at all. His potential is through the floor on FM as well. He's never going to make it here, unfortunately.

 

We do also have this guy as a good youth prospect:

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I'm going to be honest - I did not know he played for us. I've never heard of him before. I've heard of everyone else in the U23s, but not him, which is a little surprising. It seems like we took him away from Leeds on a free at some point. That suits me.

 

If you haven't noticed - I'm paying a lot of attention to the wages players are on. Rotherham's budget is tiny, and succeeding with them means getting the most out of what you've got. We're going to need to cut loose some players to free up cash, me thinks.

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I realise that was a little long, so here's my keep/ditch list:

 

Keep:

GK - Lewis Price. Unless we can find someone cheaper, which is doubtful, he's here to stay as a backup.

CB - Kirk Broadfoot. Our leader at the back.

CB - Dael Fry. He's on loan for just 2k a week. Bargain.

CB/LB - Aymen Belaid. He'll be important when he recovers from injury.

CB - Kelvin Wilson. Probably cheap enough to keep around for the year.

CB - Dominic Ball. He's 20, and was only signed in Summer. He might be going out on loan, though.

RB - Darnell Fisher. Quality player on very cheap wages.

CM - Will Vaulks. New to the squad and on low wages.

CM - Lee Frecklington. Mr Rotherham.

CM - Jake Forster-Caskey. Cheap enough to keep his loan deal running.

RM - Jon Taylor. He's new, our record signing and a good winger.

LM - Izzy Brown. Here for free.

ST - Danny Ward. Our best player. I need to give him a contract extension ASAP.

ST - Jonson Clarke-Harris. We'll see what state he's in when he recovers from his injury around about March.

ST - Peter Odemwingie. I don't think he's worth 8k, but he's here until January whether I like it or not.

ST - Dexter Blackstock. I don't want him, but he's just joined, so I'm stuck with him.

 

Sell:

CB - Greg Halford. Not a chance he's worth 8k.

CB - Richard Wood. He's old, earning 4.5k and is a backup at best.

CM - Scott Allan. I've already terminated his loan. That's 7.25k we badly need on someone who'll actually help us.

RB - Stephen Kelly. Too slow.

Maybe:

GK - Lee Camp. Not as good as he is in real life, and on pretty high wages. I want to bring in someone younger.

CM - Tom Adeyemi. 8k a week is very hefty for him. If we can bring in someone as good, this is a definite termination.

LM - Joe Newell. He's decent, but we got a big offer from America for him before. If that happens again, he's gone.

LB - Joe Mattock. He's not done fantastically for us in my last two tries, but this is dependent on finding a good replacement.

 

 

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Best of luck.

Why is the need for player knownledge in you manager?

Edited by MadCatPT

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6 hours ago, Northernpilgrim said:

Good luck :)

Thanks, Northern!

5 hours ago, MadCatPT said:

Best of luck.

Why is the need for player knownledge in you manager?

Thanks, MadCat :) 

I've gone so heavy with player knowledge this time because the first time I did this save, I kept my player knowledge low - and that meant that most players attributes were completely unknown to us. That made player recruitment pretty impossible, because we couldn't really filter out anyone when searching based on attributes. I may have gone too overboard with it this time, but it's just such a big help at the start being able to at least get a rough idea of the attributes of most players.

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34 minutes ago, Jupjamie said:

I've gone so heavy with player knowledge this time because the first time I did this save, I kept my player knowledge low - and that meant that most players attributes were completely unknown to us. That made player recruitment pretty impossible, because we couldn't really filter out anyone when searching based on attributes. I may have gone too overboard with it this time, but it's just such a big help at the start being able to at least get a rough idea of the attributes of most players.

Thanks for the explanation.

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Tactics

This part of the game went awfully last time. Regardless of the formation we use this time, I want to give us an identity that we never really had in the first two tries. That's not based on personal preferences, but purely on the strengths of the team:

 

  • You'd expect a team like Rotherham to be a rugged, physical side. That's actually not all that true - it's definitely true at CB and potentially CM, but that's it. This is actually a fairly technical team.
  • That means that we're not going to be playing the long ball game. As much as I want to, we just don't have the bodies for it. We're lacking that big, target man figure upfront, and we have a lot of creative players in the side that a long ball game just doesn't suit. We're going to keep it short.
  • That doesn't mean we're going to be lacking on physicality, though. I'm happy to pick up a few bookings in return for going in strong. That's a part of Rotherham's game that's not going anywhere.

 

  • We're easily one of the weaker sides in the division. We need to be structured and tight in defence. There's no point going gung-ho, because that just doesn't fit the team at my disposal. Defensive or counter sounds like a good mentality to go with.

 

  • We're pretty slow at the back - especially in the middle. We're going to need to sit slightly deeper to counter that, and have the midfield do a lot of the groundwork defensively.
  • Our FBs are decently quick, but they're not rapid. They're also not fantastic going forward, so we probably won't be asking too much of them in that regard.

 

Here's how we stack up compared to the rest of the division:

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  • That average age could do with coming down slightly.
  • I'm surprised we average so many international caps per player.
  • Oh, Peter Odemwingie has 63 for Nigeria and Stephen Kelly has 38 for Ireland. That'll help. The others are Lewis Price (11, Wales), Lee Camp (9, Northern Ireland), Kirk Broadfoot (4, Scotland), and Dexter Blackstock (4, Antigua and Barbuda). I'm pretty sure Blackstock is the only current international, then.
  • No surprises with that average wage. We're 20th, which means that there are actually four teams spending less? That does surprise me. Burton will be one, but who else? I'd expect that Wigan were probably above us, but maybe not. Barnsley, presumably. No idea who the other one could be. 

 

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  • Our passing is above average. That's superb, and something a neutral would almost certainly not assume. The strength is there too, which is pleasing to see.
  • That workrate and teamwork.. ouch. That's not a good sign. In a weak team, you need grafters, and we may be lacking there.

 

 

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  • This is pretty good, actually. Aerial ability is worryingly low, but overall, we're not doing terribly here.

 

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  • The physical stuff is as expected. Very good in the air, pretty strong, but dangerously slow. 
  • I'm surprised we're above average for tackling and marking. Didn't expect that at all. 

 

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  • Our starting midfielder's passing is fine. I'm not worried about that.
  • Low stamina, low teamwork, and low tackling. That's a horrible recipe for a weak side. We need to shore that up.

 

 

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  • We need a striker that can finish. Badly.
  • Below average in pretty much every category here, and near the bottom in a couple of them. 

 

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  • We're horrifically slow and not at all athletic, but we will win a few physical battles. 
  • If we're the team who can jump the highest in the division, why the f*** did we concede so many f***ing corners last time, and score none ourselves?

 

 

So, with all that in mind, here's what I'm thinking tactically:

 

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This is my first choice. We're strong in midfield (before the injuries hit, anyway), and really weak upfront, so voila! Three CMs and one striker. Should work. Possibly. Maybe not.

We're going to get stuck in and force teams to kick the ball long to our massive CBs, whip crosses in for our smaller strikers, keep the passing short and sit the defence back so we don't get absolutely destroyed by through balls. Makes sense to me.

 

 

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Second choice, partly inspired by @SpillBlood and his fantastic Rotherham career. I am quite partial to a 4-2-3-1, but this would be reliant on bringing in a quality CAM.

 

 

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Third choice. For if we get destroyed at the back with the other two.

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Corners (AKA the reason I drink)

I seem to be one of the only people who has a problem with defending corners. It's so infuriating - especially considering we're supposedly the best in the division in the air (I know that's Jumping Reach, not height, but it's a strong indicator). The only way you know if a defensive set piece tactic will work is trial and error - by which I mean wait to see how many you concede. Not a great plan, but I don't really have a better one.

 

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Here's the default one they give you. Never works for me. The opposition always get a free header somewhere - although now that I think about it, that's usually at the back post. I might just try this to start with...

 

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Will it work? Almost definitely not. Worth a try anyway.

 

 

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Scouting Strategy:

Like a lot of what I've been posting, this will probably end up jumbled, but here are my thoughts:

 

  • We need to target loan deals first, because good players available for loan get snaffled quick. Not having any scouts really hurts us here, but when they do arrive, their first priority is to look for players available for loan.
  • We don't have much money to spend. Any player we plan to spend money on needs to be carefully scrutinised.
  • It's really slim pickings in the free agent market, because most of the good ones already have clubs IRL. Free agents can wait.

 

In terms of positions, here's what I'm thinking:

  • ST has to be our main priority. We need a goalscorer, and I'm willing to spend money on the right one. Jason Cummings from Hibernian is someone Rotherham were looking at in real life, so he's one I'll send a scout to check out.
  • A creative midfielder would be great - either a CAM or a CM, but we need someone who can unlock defences from midfield. Basically, we need a Scott Allan, but one who's actually good.
  • We also need a defensive grafter in CM. Basically, we need Richie Smallwood, but he's out on loan for the year. Cheers, Alan.
  • I want to upgrade at LB. Joe Mattock never seems to do it for me on FM, and I'm looking to bring in someone who could offer us something going forward, if possible.
  • We could do with a bit of pace at CB, if possible.
  • Lee Camp isn't fantastic in goal, but he'll do unless we can bring in someone younger.

 

We'll probably have five scouts at our disposal once they've all been signed up. Because players from such few countries actually have any interest in joining us, I think it makes sense to send them to individual countries, rather than regions. So:

 

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Crimea, Cyprus, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Gibraltar, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, San Marino and Wales don't have enough quality to bother looking at their domestic leagues. They're all ruled out.

 

Bosnia, Bulgaria, Finland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland are all in the tier just above that, in my opinion. I might check these countries out later, but they aren't my first choice. I may make an exception for Dundalk in Ireland, though.

As much as I'd like to look here, Norway, Denmark and Sweden don't seem to have many talented players interesting in joining us. I think I'll skip them for now.

 

England is great, but they're just too expensive. The only players (apart from frees and loans) we can realistically afford from England are going to be washed up ones, or players from L1 and below - and not even quality L1 players.

 

That leaves:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Holland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine as the feasible countries left to scout.

If I'm picking five of these to start with...

Scotland is my first choice, 100%. There's some decent cheap talent there.

Belgium is on the list too. 

Holland could be quite a nice place to look. They seem to have a lot of talent for decent value. I think I'll try there.

Croatia will probably be quite quick to scout. so I'll go for them at the start too.

I can't decide on a last one... I think I'll go with Greece. It shouldn't take long to scout, and there's some pretty good talent there.

 

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Really liking your explanations.

Curious about a BWM as the more defending midfielder as he goes out of position to press and the changes to the set pieces.

Since you didn't score goals from corners and you seem to have tall guys that jump well shouldn't you also tinker on offensive corners?

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7 minutes ago, MadCatPT said:

Really liking your explanations.

Curious about a BWM as the more defending midfielder as he goes out of position to press and the changes to the set pieces.

Since you didn't score goals from corners and you seem to have tall guys that jump well shouldn't you also tinker on offensive corners?

I've chosen a BWM pretty much for that reason. My defence will sit deep, and I want the DM to go and press players to try to win the ball back, rather than just sit in front of the already deep defence. He'll get beaten and dragged out of position at times, but he should also help us to win the ball back a lot more frequently.

Good point on the attacking corners. I actually did tinker with them, but just completely forgot to post them here. That'll come up now :D 

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Attacking Corners

In an effort to make more use of our set pieces, I also want to tweak our attacking corners set up. 

The two best headers of the ball in our team are quite comfortably the CBs. I want them in the same area, with the ball aimed there. So...

 

b17607df037c8a6363c4f2b8adda0599.png

This is pretty much aimed purely to have the CBs get a header on goal. The CM is on the edge of the area to recycle position, but the other players are all there to drag markers away from the backpost (and maybe get a flick on).

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See, we really, really, need a striker. I've found one I want, too. 

759fa061292677e75ded57da5c5984fb.png

He looks great. 3.5* CA and 5* PA. Only problem is, Hibs want 1m for him. Now, we can actually afford that - but is it smart to spend double our record signing on one player, even if it is one that we really need?

I can't decide. I can offer 500k upfront and 500k after he scores 30 goals, but that still counts as 1m against my transfer budget this year for whatever reason. I think that's a good deal - but I'm hesitant to pull the trigger.

Thoughts?

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I've had Cummings in a couple of saves now, though I think I paid much less for him in the 2nd season with a side promoted to the Championship on one save. Very handy striker, definitely got me plenty of goals in the Championship.

I'd chance cracking the after goals clause to 50, which should stop it effecting this season's budget.

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47 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

I've had Cummings in a couple of saves now, though I think I paid much less for him in the 2nd season with a side promoted to the Championship on one save. Very handy striker, definitely got me plenty of goals in the Championship.

I'd chance cracking the after goals clause to 50, which should stop it effecting this season's budget.

Good advice, but unfortunately they got tired of me messing them around, and now they're refusing to even accept 600k upfront + 600k after 30 goals. This one's on the backburner for now :( 

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Preseason:

827c0d98b069b61142cb04076de6c8b4.png

Mixed. 

I used the 4-1-4-1 for the first two games, and two 0-0 draws pretty much tell the whole story (although we did dominate Villa on possession). We then went to the 4-3-3, and we got outplayed by a French Second Division side. Not ideal. We then battered Peterborough and played well against Swansea before battering a local team for morale.

I made two minor tweaks to the 4-1-4-1, pushing the striker down to a DLF(S) and changing the shape from structured to fluid. I also changed the shape from structured to fluid in the 4-3-3. After watching some of the preseason games in full, it was obvious that structured just wasn't giving us enough options going forward, because the deeper players were hesitant to join attacks. Fluid seems to have fixed that, although hopefully won't leave us vulnerable on the counter.

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August:

Transfers:

f68ba8e7e5b89e4f1b2c1fc4030aca3f.png Not much. A backup keeper and backup FB in on loan, and we shifted some deadweight, which gives us money available to spend in January once we've hopefully identified targets. I'm a bit disappointed Jason Cummings didn't come off, but that may not be completely dead in the water just yet.

 

Results:

d712849bb74fe6f34e7efde632ad03b5.png

493d77767a49d70868609e395b51cd5e.png

Hey...

 

Rotherham vs Wolves:

Superb start to the year. We took the lead in the 5th minute, when Lee Frecklington hit a stormer from 25 yards, and then continued to be the better team throughout. We got the second 18 minutes from time, when Kirk Broadfoot headed home a cross following a partially cleared corner.

 

Crewe vs Rotherham:

Little disappointing that we needed extra time, but we saw them off in the end through a fantastic Izzy Brown strike.

 

Aston Villa vs Rotherham:

What a win! We went 1-0 down in the 15th minute when Jordan Ayew stole in at the near post, but a tidy Danny Ward finish from a tight angle bought us level at the half. We won it just after the hour, when a corner was flicked on by Kirk Broadfoot and headed home by Danny Ward.

 

Brighton vs Rotherham:

3/3! After three games here, I've already matched my total for the 24 games I played on the last attempt. That's half impressive, half woeful. Anyway, we went 2-0 up from a superb Izzy Brown hit and a defensive mixup that let Danny Ward steal in with a tap in. Elvis Manu pulled one back for Brighton, but Danny Ward's deflected strike put the game beyond doubt.

 

Rotherham vs Brentford:

First loss of the season. We just didn't really turn up.

 

Rotherham vs Liverpool:

We nearly won this. We went 1-0 up in the first five minutes, with Danny Ward converting Jon Taylor's near post cross. Unfortunately, we just couldn't hold out, and they struck 3 times in 7 minutes to get the win. We had our fair share of chances, though, with Izzy Brown somehow hitting the post from two yards out. 

 

Barnsley vs Rotherham:

AAAAARGH. We had 30 shots to 5, but Barnsley escaped with a point. This was the most dominant performance I've seen by a Rotherham side over all three attempts, though, so it bodes well.

 

2f9ee3d615e65864f86174eecfec5604.png

da912d349f26cfae1d1aff6922e14443.png

 

Players:

Lee Camp has done pretty well in goal. Kirk Broadfoot and Dael Fry have been solid at the back, and Darnell Fisher and Joe Mattock have gotten off to a great start at FB.

Lee Frecklington and Joe Newell have been superb at CM (Frecklington as our BBM, Newell as our AP), but neither WIll Vaulks or Tom Adeyemi has locked down that BWM spot. Jake Forster-Caskey is out for a few weeks with a sprained ankle.

Jon Taylor has struggled to make his mark on the wing, but Izzy Brown has been superb as an IF on the left. The real star of the team so far is Danny Ward, however, with 5 goals in 6 starts.

I wonder how long we can keep this going for?

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Try and get Jordan Williams as well from Liverpool. Him and Randall played almost everywhere from defence to midfield for me when I tried out Rotherham during Beta. Newcastle might fancy loaning out Freddie Woodman as well.

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4 minutes ago, oneronaldo said:

Try and get Jordan Williams as well from Liverpool. Him and Randall played almost everywhere from defence to midfield for me when I tried out Rotherham during Beta. Newcastle might fancy loaning out Freddie Woodman as well.

Both are already out on loan :( Williams is at Aberdeen (who actually beat me to him when I was taking a look), and Woodman is still in the division with Cardiff.

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September:

a78957c36f567d64840534ae9f64f3b7.png

Rotherham vs Bristol City:

More domination. We absolutely hammered them. Izzy Brown, Danny Ward and Jon Taylor all got on the scoresheet.

Rotherham vs Nottingham Forest:

We had the better of the game, but Forest equalised with 10 minutes to go after Izzy Brown had converted a Jon Taylor cross in the 4th minute.

Blackburn vs Rotherham:

We went 2-0 up when Joe Newell tapped home a Jon Taylor cross and Dael Fry smashed in a rebound from a free kick. They got one back when we completely switched off from a free kick, but we held on for a deserved win.

Rotherham vs Cardiff:

What a shambles. Not a single player turned up. I hope this isn't the start of our collapse.

Huddersfield vs Rotherham:

An even game. Danny Ward tucked home a Jon Taylor cross (again) to give us the lead, but Joe Lolley equalised with a fantastic volley 15 minutes from time. Disappointing that we couldn't hold on, but a draw was a fair result.

 

October:

34a5619f5f3d02b6ebf27865fcb035ec.png

We've collapsed.

Rotherham vs Newcastle:

This was actually pretty good, considering how dominant Newcastle are. Danny Ward gave us the lead early on, but Matt Ritchie converted a cross for Newcastle before a Jack Colback stunner just two minutes later sent them 2-1 up. We hit back just two minutes after that, with Danny Ward smashing home at the near post from an Izzy Brown cross, but Grant Hanley would head home from a corner in the 54th minute to give Newcastle a deserved win.

 

Norwich vs Rotherham:

Not the nicest of fixtures to have right after Newcastle. Anthony Forde sent us 1-0 up with a freekick (and his first ever Rotherham goal) just 3 minutes into the game, but their superior quality shone through.

Birmingham vs Rotherham:

Horrific. We didn't turn up at all. They cut us open with ease, and Will Vaulks dismissal for a second yellow card 15 minutes from time didn't help matters.

Rotherham vs Reading:

This was an even game. Mirko Eramo put Reading 1-0 up from 30 yards, but Danny Ward outpaced Paul McShane to put us level just 37 seconds after the restart. Both teams had chances to win the game, but none better than ours in the 81st minute, when Kirk Broadfoot was bundled over from a corner for a penalty. Jake Forster-Caskey - who had just been bought off the bench a few minutes ago - had the chance to win the game, but saw his spotkick saved. Frustrating.

Ipswich vs Rotherham:

Couldn't have seen a worse performance. They won two penalties from fouls from set pieces, scored a third from a long throw, and just utterly toyed with us from start to finish. What a joke. 

We're still not doing badly - we're 16th - but we haven't won a game in 7, and that needs to change. 

 

Squad:

Lee Camp has been solid, but not spectacular. Joe Mattock, Dael Fry, Kirk Broadfoot and Darnell Fisher have all been woeful lately. Some of them are getting dropped.

Will Vaulks has been disappointing lately, and has lost his place to Tom AdeyemiLee Frecklington hasn't been at his best, but Joe Newell has been pretty good as our AP.

Izzy Brown has been good, but you could tell how much we missed Jon Taylor when he was out injured for 2-3 weeks. Taylor has really come into his own lately.

Danny Ward is the star of the show, of course. 10 goals in 16 games.

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5 hours ago, MadCatPT said:

The collapse was against some pretty strong teams also, you'll pick up after that.

Very fair point - although there aren't many easy games in the Championship :D 

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Reckon the Championship must be the hardest league in football(or FM at least), there's always big teams about, plenty of moneybags clubs, a ridiculously long season that gets extra harsh over winter,  just about at the level where call ups can screw everything up, and you're still at a low enough level that players can be easily poached away or have their heads turned.

EDIT: In 16 once, I done a Championship season where I also had the Europa League to play in. That was intense.

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21 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

 

EDIT: In 16 once, I done a Championship season where I also had the Europa League to play in. That was intense.

Did you win the FA cup and get relegated?

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9 minutes ago, Jupjamie said:

Did you win the FA cup and get relegated?

Nope, I absolutely fluked one from League One(faced no Premier League clubs at all), and won promotion. I've never ever seen such a lucky set of draws.

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November:

30e3c0a2d0cf70ab550fe2addde289e9.png

Unbeaten in November doesn't sound bad. No win in 9 games does.

Rotherham vs Preston:

We had 17 shots, they had 5. We couldn't score.

Derby vs Rotherham:

The teams exchanged own goals to start the game, which was interesting. Lee Frecklington put us 2-1 up, but their superior quality shone through in the end.

Rotherham vs Leeds:

Pretty even game. Jon Taylor converted Izzy Brown's cross early in the second half for us.

 

December:

54102b6e75bc6c6d57952cda7a4e166a.png

Burton vs Rotherham:

Pathetic. We've been comfortably beaten by the bottom side in the league to make it 10 games without a win. Time to change tactic to our 4-2-3-1 and hope that yields better results.

QPR vs Rotherham:

Not a bad performance, but we didn't create a whole lot. Neither did they.

Fulham vs Rotherham:

63% of the ball, and what should have been a deserved win. Jon Taylor gave us the lead, but Tom Cairney hit a screamer from 30 yards with just two minutes left to play. Fuming.

Sheffield Wednesday vs Rotherham:

64% of the ball against our biggest rivals, but a disappointingly quiet game. 

Rotherham vs Wigan:

Our first win in 14! We made it harder than it should have been, but a Craig Morgan own goal in the first minute (our old captain doing us a solid favour there) followed by Danny Ward's first two goals since October gave us the win.

Rotherham vs Burton:

I want to break my computer at this point. They had a man sent off in the first five minutes, and Izzy Brown scored in the 10th. One minute later, they were level, as Ben Turner headed a free kick straight at Lee Camp, but he just watched it trickle over the line and into the net. Fantastic. They then had another man sent off, and lined up like this:

69f5df49f242718ec3091ab7d302d620.png

Seriously...

We just couldn't break them down. 33 shots to 6 and 66% of the ball. Ridiculous.

 

0aa6bd87729d0d69aafb102c7b3bc5dc.png

We're not doing badly, but we've won as many games in our last 21 as we did in our first 3.

 

Players:

Lee Camp isn't in my good books after that clanger against Burton. Kirk Broadfoot has been benched for Kelvin Wilson who's done pretty well next to Dael Fry. Aymen Belaid has won the starting LB job from Joe Mattock and is doing decent-ish, and Darnell Fisher has rebounded strongly at RB.

Will Vaulks has torn his hamstring and is out for 3 months, which means Tom Adeyemi is our starting BWM for the foreseeable future. Joe Newell is still playing fantastically, but Lee Frecklington hasn't made the smoothest transition to AM.

Izzy Brown is on fire and Danny Ward may slowly be getting his form back, but Jon Taylor is out for 3-4 weeks with a twisted ankle. Disappointing.

 

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4 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

Nope, I absolutely fluked one from League One(faced no Premier League clubs at all), and won promotion. I've never ever seen such a lucky set of draws.

That sounds like quite the story :D 

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Not a bad position to be in, despite all the draws and losses, a goal or two more here and there and you'd be in the top half handily.

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2 minutes ago, LATB said:

Yeah don't be too downhearted this is a good season

 

6 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

Not a bad position to be in, despite all the draws and losses, a goal or two more here and there and you'd be in the top half handily.

Thanks guys! I'm just happy if we stay up this year, which we are on pace to do :D 

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Glad to see this has been restarted with some success! 

Regarding corners, the only advice I can give if you can't defend them no matter what you try, is to leave a playmaker on the edge of the area and either 1-2 nippy players up front. At least that way you'll be a threat on the break and they'll be forced to leave a couple of players back to cover. 

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January:

What does January mean? Transfers! We did pretty well, if I do say so myself...

28dd2c9e46d55d174385fc2ab1870b5b.png

Nothing exciting about the outs. I wasn't going to pay Odemwingie the 8k a week that he wanted - especially not after the disgusting elbow he threw in real life today - so he's been sent packing. To save wages, Lewis Price, our backup GK, has been sent out on loan to Gillingham.

The ins, though...

3ea1b0d6d334e34eff8ca1561cfe546c.png

WHAT. A. COUP.

Tyrone Mings is way, waaaay too good for Rotherham. Look at him...

He instantly becomes the best player at the club, and we've got him here on loan for the rest of the season. The best news is, we have a 900k optional fee in the deal, so we could sign him for 900k if we wanted to. I do want to - badly - but it depends if we have the cash to do it.

 

a8b7fc578aaada9767c9775b5fd3deaa.png

Before I realised Mings was available, Taiwo had been signed on a free. The experienced FB is also a pretty good coup for us, in my mind. I'll find room for him, even with Mings in the squad now.

 

07218e686e8f6579f1814fa20ae9a04c.png

I wanted my striker, and - hopefully - I've found him. I've loved Conor Washington in real life since he was banging them in for Peterborough, and QPR were happy to let him go out on loan to us. If he plays well, we can buy him for 325k because of a future fee in the deal, which I'm very happy with.

 

cae4f41f0f9ba19b5d7cc268175f0a42.png

We like the loan market, don't we? Brighton weren't using Richie Towell, and their loss is very much our gain. No future fee in this one, but I'm happy enough to have him here for the year.

 

89b9fba3444b91b0807b82d992a98913.png

Miele arrives from Shamrock Rovers on a free. He may have some room to develop.

 

43cc94abe42fceec51dfca75338c18b1.png

 

Leeds vs Rotherham:

They won this when we cleared the ball off their player. Twice.

Barnsley vs Rotherham:

We went 1-0 down to a Conor Hourihane free kick, and, despite dominating, it looked like we were crashing out of the FA Cup early - that is, until Conor Washington announced his arrival in style, smashing home one from a tight angle in the 88th minute on his debut to rescue the tie.

Rotherham vs Norwich:

What a win! Danny Ward converted a Taye Taiwo cross to put us 1-0 up, and Alex Tettey's red card just before HT put us in a commanding position. Joe Newell turned home Anthony Forde's free kick in the second half to seal the deal.

Rotherham vs Barnsley:

Another game we dominated against Barnsley, but once again, we had to come from behind to rescue the tie. Angus McDonald escaped his marker to convert a free kick on the stroke of HT, but the second half was all ours. Izzy Brown smashed home a Joe Newell cross from the edge of the box to pulls us level, before Conor Washington tucked home after good work by Tyrone Mings to send us flying into the fourth round.

Newcastle vs Rotherham:

Gutted. We gave the runaway league leaders a game, but Dwight Gayle struck in stoppage time to steal the win.

Swindon vs Rotherham:

Even more gutted. We got outplayed by the L1 side completely. No complaints - they deserved the win. We threw away our chance to have a good cup run, here.

Nottingham Forest vs Rotherham:

We had the better of the game, but just couldn't convert our chances, resorting too often to long range efforts against a ten man Forest, who had Matt Mills sent off with 30 minutes to go.

 

cefa305e9032db4278f2814adc3b3273.png

8 points outside the relegation zone is golden at this stage.

 

 

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On 18/11/2016 at 18:29, Jupjamie said:

Thanks, Northern!

Thanks, MadCat :) 

I've gone so heavy with player knowledge this time because the first time I did this save, I kept my player knowledge low - and that meant that most players attributes were completely unknown to us. That made player recruitment pretty impossible, because we couldn't really filter out anyone when searching based on attributes. I may have gone too overboard with it this time, but it's just such a big help at the start being able to at least get a rough idea of the attributes of most players.

What's wrong with just sending scouts out to find someone that fits what you want them to be like, and then when they say they have found someone that might fit the bill, ask them to scout them until they have scouted them 100%? :kriss:

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1 hour ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

What's wrong with just sending scouts out to find someone that fits what you want them to be like, and then when they say they have found someone that might fit the bill, ask them to scout them until they have scouted them 100%? :kriss:

I don't trust my scouts enough, basically :lol: Considering Rotherham start the game with zero scouts, I'd rather crack on and use my own judgement, rather than wait for them to come in only to ship them off with the vague assignment of 'right, travel Europe and go and find me a starting LB.'

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1 hour ago, BoxToBox said:

Nice collection of January moves there, Towell should do well for you.

Cheers BoxToBox, his name was on my mind ever since you reminded me of it ;) 

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