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Fan Focus: Millers' Fan Richard Wilson Talks RUFC V SAFC

Our latest pre-season game sees us take on Championship side Rotherham United tomorrow and, with that in mind, we spoke to Millers' fan and sports journalist Richard Wilson to get the opposition view ahead of the match in South Yorkshire.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

So…. Rotherham. From the outside it seems as though it was a fairly turbulent season for the Millers in 15/16, and to be honest the job Neil Warnock did in keeping your team up was excellent. Were you disappointed that the club weren’t able to hold onto Warnock, or are you happy with Alan Stubbs coming in to take the team on?

It was definitely a mixed season for us last year. We failed to learn from the mistakes of the 2014/15 season and signed far too many mediocre players in the summer. Neil Warnock was always going to keep us up - he did a great job and will be missed.

That being said, I doubt that at his age we could have gotten much more out of him - perhaps a year at most. I'm pleased with the appointment of Alan Stubbs, he showed some promising signs at Hibernian, and he's a much better choice than some dross that we were linked with (the likes of Chris Powell, Stuart Gray etc).

I read that a friendly with Grimsby was cancelled last week due to injuries – are Rotherham thin on the ground with regards to players or are Sunderland going to face a strong side tomorrow at the New York Stadium?

It's true that we had to cancel a game with Grimsby. However, we did play Tottenham in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Thursday afternoon, so we should be able to play a strong side. We haven't been as busy in the transfer market as fans would have hoped for, but hopefully that will be addressed in the next two or three weeks.

It’s been a while since the two clubs faced off and our links pretty much start and end with Michael Proctor, who of course came through the youth system at Sunderland before moving on to Rotherham. What are your memories of him?

Michael Proctor was excellent for us in his first few games, I'm fairly sure he scored a hat-trick on his debut!

I have fond memories of him but sadly I think age and injuries eventually got the better of him.

There are expected to be over four thousand Sunderland fans at the game on Saturday, breaking the away attendance record at your stadium which has of course been in use in 2012. What are your thoughts on the New York Stadium – does it feel like home for Rotherham, or are you not quite sold on it yet? I’ve been past it before and it looks impressive from the outside – and I know just how run down Millmoor was back in the day having visited a number of times!

The New York Stadium is a great place to watch football. It's a perfect size for a club of our stature and has a bit of character to it. Away fans can make plenty of noise, it's certainly not a stereotypical 'bowl' like at Doncaster for example. Millmoor was great while it lasted, you could really intimidate the bigger teams - I remember once West Ham refused to get changed in the dressing rooms and used their luxury coach instead!

What are your hopes for the season ahead with Rotherham? The Championship is a notoriously tough league, even tougher this year with stronger teams dropping down from the Premier League. Do you feel the Millers can make a push for promotion, or do you feel battling against relegation will be on the agenda once again?

Given the lack of signings so far, I think it will definitely be a struggle for us once more this season. I believe that Stubbs will do a decent job for us, and my opinion might change if we do get busy in the transfer market soon.

It is a tough league with the likes of Newcastle, Norwich and Aston Villa spending so much money, and then you have the likes of Derby and Brighton who aren't short of a bob or two. We've performed admirably so far, but if you offered me a spot in 21st now then I would be inclined to accept it.

Sunderland faced Hartlepool United on Wednesday night and looked sharp – that said, by the time the game rolls around we could have a new manager in place. What are you expecting from Sunderland tomorrow?

It will be interesting to see how Sunderland react to the news of Big Sam's departure. Hopefully we can take advantage of the uncertainty, but they seem like a professional/experienced bunch and I'm sure it won't have too much of an impact.

Which Rotherham United players should we look out for?

Keep an eye out for Anthony Forde, he comes with a decent reputation from Walsall and has a few tricks in his locker.

On the flip side, which Sunderland players do you feel can be a real threat?

It's not an original choice but clearly you have to respect Jermain Defoe. I've heard good reports about Duncan Watmore and it will be interesting to see if he is involved.

Finally – a score prediction, please!

I'll be optimistic and say that we can win this. 2-1 Millers.

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