Rotherham’s preparations are virtually over as they get their Championship campaign under way at Brentford on Saturday.
The Millers have had an encouraging pre-season with Saturday’s loss to Mansfield their only defeat in the friendlies, with boss Paul Warne saying he wanted to give everyone a chance to win a shirt at Griffin Park.
Here, we take a look at which players look to have their name inked on the teamsheet, and which positions are still up for grabs.
On the teamsheet
Having been made to wait all summer for his return from Fulham, there is no doubt who Warne’s number one will be. Rodak will get the chance to prove himself at a higher level.
✍| Announce who? 🤔
Here's the moment you've all been waiting for…
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) July 25, 2018
The Bristol City loanee shook off a groin injury and unless he suffers a recurrence this week, he should get the right-back spot. He has looked a threat going forward and is pacy at the back.
Ajayi performed well last time he was in the Championship and his pace is something the Millers will need in this division.
Mattock has been and probably always will be Warne’s preferred left-back. He’s enjoyed another solid pre-season and should get the shirt in west London.
Last season’s player of the year would have likely been guaranteed a shirt even if the Millers were not desperately short of midfielders. Vaulks, though, will want to prove himself after a disappointing time at this level last time out.
Really enjoyable 90minutes against Cardiff tonight. Not long to go now!! ⚽️
— Will Vaulks (@WillVaulks) July 25, 2018
Palmer would also have fancied getting the nod regardless of lack of competition. He has performed well in this Championship for Burton and could flourish.
On his day Newell is Rotherham’s classiest player and he has been more effective at Championship level than anyone else in the Millers squad. He had a brilliant second half of last season and should start at wide left.
The striker is already inked on to the teamsheet as he is so influential to how the Millers set up to play. He has backed that up with a prolific pre-season too, which will give him confidence going into his first crack at the second tier.
"When we signed him we got abuse for signing a substitute at Bury" – Paul Warne discusses Michael Smith's #rufc
— Millers Time (@millerstimerufc) July 27, 2018
Spots up for grabs
This might be another position already locked down, with skipper Richard Wood likely to start, but Warne has options there. Clark Robertson has come in and impressed in pre-season while Sean Raggett, a later addition, has already proved himself at both ends of the pitch. Michael Ihiekwe is also in the frame.
The Millers have plenty of strength in the wide areas and Warne has a decision to make. Presuming Newell is locked in to start, the boss then has a choice of Ryan Williams, Jon Taylor or Anthony Forde to play on the right. All three have differing qualities so this is an interesting one to see which way Warne will go.
David Ball will be the favourite for this position as Warne has gone on record many times about his love for him. However, Ball has competition in the shape of Kyle Vassell, who has looked a threat in his pre-season. His pace might tempt Warne to start with him away from home.