If Paul Warne is not getting too giddy at his Rotherham side moving back into the play-offs, he should at least allow himself to be excited by the way they have steamrollered two of their fellow contenders in the last four days.
The Millers followed up a well-earned win over Porstmouth on Saturday with a superb 2-0 success against Bradford on Tuesday night to take a top six spot for the first time since November.
And just as the Pompey win was the result of a second-half blitz at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, another marauding, masterful and dominant performance in the second 45 minutes ensured the Bantams left South Yorkshire with their tails between their legs again.
Nine games unbeaten ✔️
Into the play-off positions ✔️
Scored 22 games in a row ✔️
Two rivals despatched in four days ✔️#rufc
— Jonathan Veal (@jonathandveal83) January 23, 2018
This time Warne’s men took a lead into the half-time break as Michael Smith, making his first league start, opened the scoring with a 22nd-minute header.
Bradford had posed a threat in the first half but in the second they were simply blown away by a Millers side playing with the vigour and confidence of a team that are nine games unbeaten, though they only had Joe Newell’s composed finish to show for their domination.
The West Yorkshire side have lost three of their four visits to NYS, conceding nine goals, but they will consider themselves lucky that tally is not well into double figures after this.
? Midweek football – Rotherham United style.
? Yorkshire derby win.
? Unbeaten in nine games.
? Into the Play-Off places.
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) January 23, 2018
It all points to a team that now look to have a real shot of challenging for a top-six spot, especially if the remaining days in January go in Warne’s favour on the transfer front.
That seemed unlikely at best, just two months ago, when the Millers were unable to buy a win and Warne’s position appeared under threat.
And that is exactly why Warne is not getting too carried away.
“I am not overly giddy about it, there is still 17 games to go the lads are in fine fettle, but there are some real tests ahead.
FT| Millers 2 v 0 Bradford.
The players make their way off to rapturous applause from the AESSEAL New York Stadium faithful and rightly so.
A confident, all-action performance sees #rufc add another three points to their third tier tally.
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) January 23, 2018
“It’s great to win back-to-back games but it wasn’t long ago that we couldn’t win a game, so I know how quickly football can change.
“Potentially we can win a lot more games to get us in a good position at the end of the league. I am pleased with way where are but I am not getting carried away.
“We are pleased with what they are doing and they are well aware that potentially they could be a really good team.”
From the notebook
– 22 games in a row scored. Impressive stuff and it means the Millers will always be in games.
– There must be something about kicking towards the Kop that brings the best out of Joe Newell. After a quiet first half, Newell came to life after the break and was unplayable.
– Bradford were kitted out like Barcelona but they certainly didn’t play like them. Their tippy-tappy game at the back almost cost them several times.
– Back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since October.