How manager Matt Taylor is consumed by Rotherham United's survival battle as Cardiff City come to AESSEAL New York Stadium tonight

Matt TaylorMatt Taylor
Matt Taylor
Package of Millers v Bluebirds preview material

THE first thing Matt Taylor did after the Rotherham United v Burnley match was drive home and watch it all again.

Seven months into his reign, the manager is consumed by the Millers’ mission to seal their Championship safety and the laptop was out last Tuesday as soon as the car was parked following the 25-minute journey back to his Penistone base.

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The 41-year-old wanted to see how his team had gone toe to toe with the already-promoted leaders to draw 2-2, looking for anything he might be able to use to his side’s advantage in the survival run-in.

Next up are Cardiff City, at New York tonight when victory would be enough to make sure Rotherham are a second-tier side next season after three failed bids to stay up.

The stakes are high, but Taylor is the type of character to embrace a battle rather than shy away from it.

“There is no bigger pressure than what you put on yourself,” he said. “I’m pretty demanding of myself. You can get engrossed in what is going on. I was watching Burnley again the same night.

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“I am enjoying it. It sounds strange to say it. It’s a little bit of sickness managers hold inside them. I want my players to enjoy it too.”

Even a draw this evening would be a decent result for the 19th-placed Millers, who are three points above the drop zone. With other safety-seeking clubs still to play each other, it would then take an extremely unlikely set of results elsewhere between now and the May 8 close of the campaign for the Millers to slip into the bottom three.

A defeat and ... let’s not go there, eh? Rotherham’s fate would still be in their own hands but the nerves would be jangling over the prospect of ending up in the final relegation spot.

“I know the club have been through some difficult times in the past when we’ve come to this stage of the season,” Taylor said. “We’ve got 46 points. That’s more than we’ve had in our last three attempts, and there’s still three games to go. It’s all to play for.

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“We have a group of players who are giving everything. They’re a great group to work with. They’re putting themselves in front of whatever challenges are thrown at them and they’re doing it with spirit and a smile on their faces.”

The Millers have lost fewer matches, 17, than any club below 15th spot. They have the best goal difference, minus 11, of all the sides who could still go down and they’ve scored more goals, 47, than any of the sides around them.

“Toughness, resilience, organisation, structure; everything you need to pick up points at this level,” Taylor said of his squad. “Being hard to beat is something we pride ourselves on.”

The day after Burnley involved some rare downtime for him. “I was on Daddy day-care because my wife had Covid,” said the boss who became a father — to son Darragh — for the first time in August.

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Yet there was still no real escape from the rigours of the run-in.

He travelled to Teesside that night to check out Monday’s opponents, Middlesbrough, against Hull City.


MATT TAYLOR doesn’t know if Cardiff City will come to New York Stadium carrying a grudge and he doesn’t care.

The Bluebirds are back in S60 tonight after March’s match between them and Rotherham United was abandoned early in the second half because of a freak rainstorm.

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The South Wales side were fuming at referee Oliver Langford’s decision, which came while they were leading 1-0, and complained to the EFL that not enough effort was made to clear the water so the fixture could restart.

When asked if City might approach this evening’s clash with added incentive Millers boss Taylor said: “If they still feel aggrieved with the pitch being waterlogged, that’s down to them. It’s nothing to do with me.”

Both teams are looking to secure their Championship status in the final three matches of the campaign and are separated in table only by goal difference.

Taylor was this week casting a keen eye over his walking wounded — players like midfielder Ollie Rathbone (groin), right-back Lee Peltier (back and hamstring) centre-halves Cameron Humphreys (knee) and Tyler Blackett (hamstring), striker Jordan Hugill (knee) and winger Shane Ferguson (groin) — before naming his 18-man squad.

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“I will think long and hard about who I pick because we have to be able to run — and run fast and hard,” he said.


One to watch

Striker Sory Kaba has scored eight goals in 14 outings since his January loan switch from Midtjylland. The Guinea-born 27-year-old has played in the Champions League for his Danish parent club. He began his career in Spain with Elche and has also been with French side Dijon and O-H Leuven in Belgium.

Form guide

Millers: DWDLDL

Cardiff: LWLLWD

The Bluebirds lost 4-1 at Sheffield United then won 3-1 at Watford before drawing 1-1 at home to Stoke City on Saturday.

Last time out

Last month’s match at New York Stadium was abandoned three minutes after half-time when a freak rainstorm left the surface unplayable. In the game at Cardiff City Stadium in October the injury-hit Millers played poorly and were beaten 1-0 by a superb second-half strike by Aston Villa loanee Jayden Philogene.

Recent meetings

May 8, 2021, Championship:

Cardiff 1 Millers 0

Feb 9, 2021, Championship:

Millers 1 (Matt Crooks) Cardiff 2

Feb 18, 2017, Championship:

Cardiff 5 Millers 0

Sep 24, 2016, Championship:

Millers 1 (Izzy Brown) Cardiff 2

Jan 23, 2016, Championship:

Cardiff 2 Millers 2 (Joe Newell, Anthony Pilkington og)

Sep 19, 2015, Championship:

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Millers 2 ( Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe pen 43, Matt Connolly og) Cardiff 1

Mar 3, 2015, Championship:

Millers 1 (Danny Ward), Cardiff 3

Dec 6, 2014, Championship:

Cardiff 0 Millers 0

In 53 contests between the clubs since 1921, Rotherham have 23 wins to Cardiff’s 16.

Rival boss

The Bluebirds turned to Sabri Lamouchi in late January when they sacked Mark Hudson, who had spent just four months in charge. The 51-year-old Frenchman has also managed Rennes and Nottingham Forest and almost led Forest to the Championship play-offs in 2020. Lamouchi was a midfielder in his playing days and his clubs included Monaco, Parma and Inter Milan.

Man in the middle

Oliver Langford is back at the New York, having taken charge of the abandoned match last month. The two sides are familiar to the West Midlands official as he was also the ref when the Bluebirds beat the Millers 1-0 in South Wales in October.

The odds

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The bookies slightly favour the visitors, offering 9/5 on the Millers and 13/8 on Cardiff. The draw is 19/10.


1-0: 13/2

2-0: 11/1

2-1: 9/1

3-0: 25/1

3-1: 20/1

3-2: 35/1

4-0: 80/1

4-1: 70/1

4-2: 100/1


0-0: 13/2

1-1: 9/1

2-2: 13/1

3-3: 66/1

4-4: 200/1


1-0: 13/2

2-0: 10/1

2-1: 9/1

3-0: 20/1

3-1: 18/1

3-2: 30/1

4-0: 70/1

4-1: 60/1

4-2: 100/1




Sat Apr 29: Stoke A

Mon May 8: Bristol C H


Tonight: Cardiff H

Mon May 1: Middlesbrough A

Mon May 8: Wigan A


Tonight: Rotherham A

Sun Apr 30: Huddersfield H

Mon May 8: Burnley A


Sun Apr 30: Cardiff A

Thu May 4: Sheff Utd H

Mon May 8: Reading H


Sat Apr 29: Wigan H

Mon May 8: Huddersfield A


Fri Apr 28: Millwall H

Mon May 8: Norwich A


Sat Apr 29: Reading A

Mon May 8: Rotherham H