Rotherham United chief Matt Taylor plans for a tougher Championship in 2023/24

MANAGER Matt Taylor says the Championship will be stronger next season — and knows Rotherham United need to improve with it in order to cope.

A more sizeable and durable playing group that can hunt down Championship points in an increasingly uncompromising league will be needed more than ever now the section contains three more Premier League size big hitters in Southampton, Leeds and Leicester City, not to mention two well-backed promoted clubs in Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday.

The physical churn of one of the toughest leagues in Europe was shown last season when the Millers got over the survival line with a group weakened by injuries and some playing with knocks and niggles.

That is partly why Taylor, who continued to scour the transfer market for new talent this week, is putting no set figure on the number of new faces he wants to bring in or areas of the team ripe for improvement..

“We are trying to strengthen all over. Any manager will tell you the spine of the team is the most important,” he said. “Having said that there are no direct positions we are targeting. It comes down to where we get some bodies in and I think we are all aware we need some bodies in.

“In January we signed seven players — some loans, some free agents — to boost us and even then we were at the bare bones towards the end of the season, so we know full well what this league does to any squad, let alone our squad.

“We just want to be in a better position to add strength and depth to it.”

Last season's final Championship table made disappointing reading for the likes of Norwich, Stoke, Watford and even West Brom.

Taylor expects clubs like them to be better next term, raising the standards and the competition for precious league points.

He added: “I can guarantee that there are probably under-performing bigger clubs already at Championship level who will be in a better position next season.

“If anyone thought it was a tough league last season then you've only got to look at it next season.

“It's not one to be daunted by. It's one to get excited about and we're well and truly in it.”

It has been a quiet week at the club, with news of arrivals and departures not expected until next month.

The league fixtures for 2023/24 are out at 9am tomorrow.

Rotherham, meanwhile, will be ball no.27 when the draw for the first round of the Carabao Cup is made, live on Sky Sports at 2.30pm.