With an excellent pre-season under their belts, it is just a few days to go until Rotherham’s big kick-off at Fleetwood.
Eight wins out of nine warm-up games have prepared the Millers well, but also given Paul Warne a welcome selection headache.
So, who do we think has nailed down their starting spot at Highbury Stadium based on their performances during pre-season?
On the teamsheet
Coming into the new season in a battle for the number one spot with Lewis Price, O’Donnell has snatched the shirt. He has grown in stature since some nervy displays last season, put in some fine shot-stopping and his kicking puts him well ahead of Price.
Good to finish pre season with a win and clean sheet…1 week to go 🙌🏻
— Richard O'Donnell (@RichODonnell23) July 30, 2017
Warne has already said that the Ipswich loanee is his preferred starter at right-back and following Darnell Fisher’s exit to Preston there is not a lot of other choice. Even still, Emmanuel has impressed during pre-season with his powerful and dominant displays.
One of the first names on the teamsheet, Ajayi has built on a promising start to his Millers career with a stellar pre-season. This could be a big season for the centre-half.
Perhaps a surprise starter given he was signed from Tranmere with the future in mind but his displays during the friendlies have dictated he starts at Fleetwood. Playing in a similar fashion to Ajayi, the young duo have struck up quite the partnership.
Taylor’s pace is crucial to how Warne wants to play and he has been a big part of the Millers’ warm-up games. The end product is still not always there but the threat is.
When he arrived in June, Warne said he would be the heartbeat of the side and he’s been a prominent figure during the friendlies. With his coolness on the ball, he will be patrolling the centre-circle at Highbury.
A fit and healthy Frecklington will always be in the Millers team and coming through pre-season unscathed has been a big boost for the captain who has suffered with injuries. His energy and work rate sets the tone for the team.
Ball is certain to have a quick reunion with his former club as he has impressed in pre-season. He has found the net regularly and shown he has quality to unlock defences.
The striker is already inked on to the teamsheet after a stunning start to life at the club. He arrived from Bolton with what was hardly a ringing endorsment from their fans but seven goals in five friendlies has announced himself in style.
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) July 29, 2017
Spots up for grabs
This position looked sewn up until the last week of pre-season. Joe Mattock had clearly been Warne’s first-choice left-back but missed the Barnsley game as a pre-caution with a niggle. Ben Purrington came in and put in his best display of the summer, giving Warne something to think about.
Wide right or left
There is probably one spot open and given the Millers’ strength in wide areas it could be on either the right or the left. Taylor looks to have cemented his starting spot and his ability to play on either flank gives Warne options. Anthony Forde impressed, particulary at Chesterfield and started against Barnsley, while Ryan Williams came off the bench and looked lively in both of those games. Then there is Joe Newell, who has real quality but has not always shown it. Warne definitely has a decision to make.