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Rotherham v Manchester City U21 - Papa John’s Trophy - Northern Group E - AESSEAL New York Stadium

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Match Preview: Rotherham v Sunderland - Can the Lads bounce back in League One v the Millers?

After the disappointment of last week’s game against Charlton, Sunderland return to league action against promotion rivals Rotherham. Here’s everything you need to know in the run up to the game.

Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images

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Saturday 23rd October 2021

(5th) Rotherham v Sunderland (4th)

Rotherham United v Sunderland - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Sky Bet League One

New York Stadium

Kick-Off: 15:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are available online via SAFC here to residents outside the UK and Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man only.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)

Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the full-time whistle at!

The build-up...

After the disappointment of Saturday’s game against Charlton, and the morale-boosting cup win over QPR, Sunderland return to the bread and butter of the league this afternoon, with a huge game against promotion rivals Rotherham at the New York Stadium.

Rotherham, under Paul Warne, have really established themselves as a top League One / lower Championship team, and after relegation last season are intent to bounce straight back up.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Ian Randall/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After an iffy start to the season – Rotherham won three and drew one of their first seven in the league, including home defeats to Fleetwood and Sheffield Wednesday – the Millers have come right back into form, with five wins and three draws in their last eight league games.

Last time out at home in the league, Rotherham drew 0-0 with Wycombe, and in their eight league games at home they’ve won four, drawn two and lost two, which should give some cause for optimism that Sunderland can go there and get a result of some description.

Defensively, Rotherham have been tight, conceding only 10 in 14 games so far – the best defensive record in the league. Sunderland, for comparison, have let in 13 in 13 games.

This is our first competitive trip to Rotherham’s new stadium – we played there in a friendly in 2016 (Charles N’Zogbia’s one and only Sunderland goal), but missed out on a trip in the 2019-20 season due to the season’s curtailment.

League One Form...

The betting...

Rotherham are favourites to take the three points tomorrow at 19/20, with an away win offered at 14/5 and a draw at 5/2.

Freddie Ladapo (4/1), Michael Smith (5/1) and Joshua Kayode (13/2) are the favourites to open the scoring, with Ross Stewart and Will Harris the first Sunderland players on the first scorer list, both at 15/2.

In our score predictions, I’ve (optimistically) gone for a 3-0 away win, which the bookies are offering at 40/1. I might just stick a fiver on that...

Head to head...

(At the New York Stadium/Millmoor in all competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 6
  • Draws: 4
  • Rotherham wins: 2
  • Sunderland goals: 27
  • Rotherham goals: 13

Last time we met... away at Rotherham

Monday 25th October 2004

Coca Cola Championship

Rotherham 0-1 Sunderland

(Whitehead, 61)

Rotherham: Pollitt, Stockdale, Hurst, Barker (McLaren 70), Swailes, McIntosh (Gilchrist 74), Sedgwick, Mullin, Proctor (R Barker 65), Junior, Warne. Substitutes not used: Montgomery, Scott

Sunderland: Myhre, Wright, Arca, Robinson, Breen, Caldwell, Whitehead, Whitley, Elliott, Stewart (Brown 90) Carter (Collins 78). Substitutes not used: Alnwick, Lynch, Bridges

Our last visit to Rotherham, 17 years ago, saw Sunderland claim an important away win under Mick McCarthy in a season in which we ultimately won the championship title. For Sunderland, Danny Collins came off the bench to make his debut, while for Rotherham, current manager Paul Warne was in the starting line up along with ex Sunderland players John Mullin, Michael Proctor and Mike Pollitt, as well as Robbie Stockdale, who coached at Sunderland for a number of years before taking over as Rochdale manager in the summer.

Rotherham Utd v Sunderland
Whitehead scores the winner at Millmoor in 2004
Photo by Gareth Copley - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Played for both...

Grant Leadbitter

During Sunderland’s ill-fated 2005-06 Premier League season, Leadbitter was loaned out to third-tier Rotherham to gain some first team experience, playing seven games and scoring once, against Swansea City.

Leadbitter had made his first team debut for Sunderland a couple of seasons earlier, but that had been his only professional action before his spell at Millmoor.

Leadbitter returned to the Stadium of Light and ended up playing 12 Premier League games as we fell out of the top flight with a paltry 15 points.

SOCCER Rotherham
Leadbitter played seven games, scoring once, on loan at Rotherham
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

John Mullin

John Mullin was signed by Peter Reid from Burnley in 1995, and played 45 games for the lads over four seasons, scoring four goals. Originally signed as a striker, Mullin was probably more effective playing in the centre of midfield, and is best remembered for his goal in the home victory over Manchester United, and being the last goalscorer at Roker Park.

After loan spells at Preston and Burnley, Mullin departed the Stadium of Light permanently in 1999, returning to Turf Moor where he played 75 games, before joining Rotherham in 2001. He spent five years at Millmoor, playing 190 games, scoring 14 goals. He followed his Rotherham manager, Ronnie Moore, to Tranmere in 2006, spending a couple of seasons on The Wirral before seeing out his career with two years at Accrington Stanley.

Rotherham v Southampton
John Mullin – The last goalscorer at Roker Park
Photo by Gareth Copley - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images



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