He used to fear it and now, on derby day, Rotherham United boss Leam Richardson wants to benefit from the New York Stadium crowd

LEAM Richardson knows full well how hostile an arena AESSEAL New York Stadium can be for visiting sides.

In fact, it formed a major part of his thinking when he accepted the role as boss of Rotherham United in December.

Richardson had experienced the atmosphere from the opposition dugout and been grudgingly impressed by the intensity of the home crowd.

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Now he's hoping that such passion will work in his favour in today's Championship derby showdown between the Millers and Sheffield Wednesday.

Rotherham United head coach Leam Richardson. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United head coach Leam Richardson. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United head coach Leam Richardson. Picture: Jim Brailsford

“I have brought teams here and know how it feels to be an opposing manager here,” said the former Wigan Athletic chief.

“It was one of the reasons why I chose to take the job, because you feel the fans, community and chairman are right behind the team and manager in good and indifferent situations.

“That’s what inspired me to come and what gets me up every day to go and work as hard as I can to make sure we're competitive and make sure we go out there and represent ourselves and the Rotherham badge as best we can.”

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This afternoon's clash pits bottom-placed Rotherham against the side one place above them in the table.

The Millers are virtually down but can throw a spanner in Wednesday's survival bid - and there's also the little matter of avenging the spineless 2-0 defeat at Hillsborough in October that spelled the beginning of the end for Richardson's predecessor, Matt Taylor.

The new man has been busy this week spelling out to his squad just how much today's encounter matters in Millers circles.

“You have to make certain people in the club aware of the importance - people who may not have been here for a long time or may not be from the area,” he said.

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“You have to make sure they understand what it means. Obviously, there's an extra edge. It's a really good game for the area, for both clubs, for both sets of fans. For me, derby days are all about the fans - make sure you give them something to cheer about.”

Rotherham will make late calls on centre-half Cameron Humphreys who was substituted at Queens Park Rangers last Saturday with an achilles issue and midfielder Sam Clucas who was limping at the end of that match.

“Sam kicked the bottom of someone's boot so his foot is swollen up and heavily bruised,” Richardson said. “He's been trying to get out there in training and run.”

The Millers head to Coventry City on Tuesday night but the boss is thinking no further than this afternoon.

“It’s a derby day,” he said. “You leave everything out there. Never mind the next game.”