Town are in desperate need of a lifeline and a result, whether a draw or a win against fellow strugglers Rotherham will lift spirits in the camp. The Mariners now find themselves second bottom in the table, and with just sixteen games left, Town need to muster another twenty three points to make sure of their safety. This will be no easy task, and despite having a fantastic start to the campaign, Town are now in dire straits. A loss to the Millers will leave Town fans wondering whether their team really will beat the drop, whilst on the other hand, a win will give them every confidence of defying the odds and securing division one football next season.
Whether town will avoid relegation is up for debate, but with the signing of Robert Taylor, on loan from Wolves, their bid to survive has undoubtedly been helped. Town have been crying out for a big striker to hold up the ball for them since they learned of the injury to Steve Livingstone back in August, and when it took Lennie Lawrence five months to notice this, it took Paul Groves just a few weeks! Taylors strike record is fantastic and has scored goals for fun in divisions one and two, and his form in this next month will help determine whether Town have a realistic chance of survival.
John Mullin was signed by Millers boss Ronnie Moore in October this year for just £150,000 - which has proved an absolute steal for such a good player. The 27 year old began his career at Burnley, but had brief spells at Sunderland and Preston North End before rejoining the Lancashire team in 1999. Since then, he had struggled to claim a first team place and was often on the substitutes bench. But since his move to Milmoor in October, he has been a revelation in his attacking midfield role. He has scored three goals, but more importantly has given Rotherham a much needed creative spark that has laid goals on for their strikers. He will undoubtedly be a problem for the Town midfield to deal with.
Town Team News
The Mariners injury room has been even less crowded this week. Paul Groves has declared himself fit for the game, as has Simon Ford.
Meanwhile, Bradley Allen and Jonny Rowan are fit to be selected as they compete for Robert Taylor's partner with Michael Boulding, Chris Thompson and Mike Jeffrey.
PHIL JEVONS is suspended so misses out.
John McDermott and Alan Pouton are still a week or so off being ready for the first team, while Steve Livingstone is a month away from full fitness.
Rotherham Team News
Boss Ronnie Moore has a virtually full fit squad to choose from and may make changes to the side that lost 4-2 to Crewe in the cup on Saturday. Mark Robins, Alan Lee and Andy Monkhouse could be set for recalls.
Expected Line Ups
Town's player of the year last season, and it looks like he could be again this season. Coyne has been in inspirational form and has been the subject of many Premiership scouting visits for some time now.
Utility player who came onto the scene at the age of 17 in the 1997/98 season when he made his debut against York in the second division. Since then has been a very useful player, and is now a first team regular.
One of the few bright spots of Town's season has been the emergence of a player that was expected to only play in the reserve. The former Charlton player is now an important member of Towns backline and one for the future.
Town's player-manager has yet again been a regular in the Mariners side. In his second spell with the club, Groves has been as immaculate as he ever was. Played most his career in midfield and now plays in defence.
Tony Gallimore (c)
The new skipper, in the absence of John McDermott, has a had a good season so far in a changeable back four. Naturally a left back, but has reveled in his position on the left side of a back three.
Former professional tennis player who has adapted his lightening quick speed onto a football pitch. Was signed by Lennie Lawrence on a free from Mansfield in September and can play up front or on the left of midfield.
Aggressive midfield player who signed for the club just less than a year ago for £160,000. Has a viscous left foot which is particularly useful in set piece situations.
Tough tackling midfield player who has missed the last three games through injury. Is expected to be restored to the line up to add that extra combative style to the Mariners play.
Versatile midfield player who was signed for £200,000 from Leicester in the summer. Can operate on the left of midfield, the right or even in the middle. Played the last few games after being injured for a month or so.
New loan signing for Wolves who will add some much needed weight to the Mariners attack, an attribute which has been lacking in the Town side all season.
Experienced forward who is effective playing off a target man. His chances have been limited of late, but is expected to play after scoring in the reserves for the past two games.
Former Lincoln City goalkeeper who joined Rotherham in 1998 from Sunderland on a free transfer. After joining Chesterfield at the start of the 2000/01 season, helping them to promotion, the 29 year old rejoined the Millers at the start of this season.
27 year old full back who has been at the club ever since graduating as a schoolboy, has established himself as a first team member these last couple of seasons.
Striker turned defender who joined the Millers in Novemeber 1998 for Fulham for £350,000. Only an injury last season prevented him from being player of the year. Now an integral part of the Rotherham back four.
Defender signed from Hibernian at the start of the season. He has given some very strong performances at the back which has made a favourite with the Millers fans.
Defender who signed in the summer from Bury, where he had a terrific season at last season being strong in the tackle and commanding in the air.
21 year old winger whose ability to run at defences caused havoc for defenders in division two last season, and has done the same this season, laying on goals for the forwards and scoring himself.
'Never say die' midfielder who signed for the Millers from Port Vale last season. His aggressive nature adds a combative bite to the Millers midfield.
Midfielder who was club captain for the clubs two succesive promotions. A midfield player with a lovely touch who was signed from Swindon in 1999 after starting at Spurs.
Former Burnley and Sunderland play maker who has been simply inspirational in the Rotherham midfield this season. Signed in October for £160,000.
Former Macclesfield striker who earned himself a reputation for a goal poacher at the Moss Rose Ground, and has continued the trend this season.
Paul signed only a short term contract in 1999, but after several impressive performances, became a permanent fixture in the Millers side and was in fine form in their two successive promotions.
Steve Croudson (GK)
Ian Gray (GK)
Last Time Out
The last time the two teams came face to face was in fact Rotherhams first win of their season. This came on October 5th at Blundell Park when Mark Robins grabbed a brace to seal a 2-0 win in what was Towns second successive home loss.
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