Ollie Rathbone's view on Rotherham United's next five matches

Rotherham United's Ollie Rathbone. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United's Ollie Rathbone. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United's Ollie Rathbone. Picture: Jim Brailsford
IT started with Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, Leicester City and Norwich City.

Next it’s Huddersfield Town, Millwall, Preston North End, Cardiff City and Bristol City.

Rotherham United had hit fine form by the close of the opening phase of their Championship campaign and deserved better than one win, a draw and 20th spot.

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The forthcoming run of fixtures offers the opportunity of a bigger points haul, reckons Ollie Rathbone, who is once again proving to be a key man in red-and-white shirt.

The midfielder believes victory in the final match before the international break, against the Canaries, was just what the Millers needed to get the season up and running.

“I think it was huge,” he said. “Our first block of five league games was always going to be really, really tough. I think our next block is one we can attack a lot more.

“I think the pressure is slightly off now that we’ve got that monkey of the first win off our back and we can really kick on.”

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Rotherham proved their Championship quality in their last two home games, both against sides who had started the day second in the standing.

They matched Leicester before slipping to an undeserved narrow defeat and then saw off the visitors from Norfolk.

The Millers make the short trip to West Yorkshire on Saturday to take on Huddersfield, who are one place below them in the table, and will see it as an opportunity to open their account away from AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Deadline-day loan arrival left-back Sebastian Revan is available for the first time and record signing Sam Nombe will be hoping for another outing after making his debut as a substitute against Norwich.

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The fact that the Millers were prepared to spend more than £1 million to bring the striker to AESSEAL New York Stadium from Exeter City underlines to Rathbone how much they mean business this term.

“It's a real statement,” he said. “I said last year when we stayed up that we needed to use that as a stepping stone to really kick on and we’ve clearly done that. It’s a really exciting time to be here.”

Rotherham should be further boosted by the return to the squad of fit-again midfielder Hakeem Odoffin and striker Georgie Kelly while teenage loanee Dexter Lembikisa should be ready to start after shaking off a foot problem.

The right-back has become a crowd favourite in his short time with the Millers and scored a stunning volley in his most recent outing.

“He's a wonderful young man who has settled in so well,” Rathbone said. “He's getting better and better every week.”