Why Rotherham United £1-million-plus centre-forward Sam Nombe was taken off early at Millwall on his first start

Sam Nombe in action for Rotherham United at Millwall last night. Picture: Jim BrailsfordSam Nombe in action for Rotherham United at Millwall last night. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Sam Nombe in action for Rotherham United at Millwall last night. Picture: Jim Brailsford
THE reason why record signing Sam Nombe lasted for only half a game in his first start for Rotherham United has been revealed.

After costing the club a seven-figure fee in the summer transfer window, the striker suffered the ignominy of being withdrawn at the interval of last night's 3-0 Championship loss at Millwall where he was partnering Jordan Hugill up front.

However, his substitution wasn't related to the way he was performing, says manager Matt Taylor who switched from a 3-5-2 formation to 4-3-3/4-5-1 at the break to try to halt the dominance of a Lions side leading 1-0 at the time.

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"Sam was unlucky," the boss said. "He fell foul of the need to change the shape. I had no option in terms of the flow of that first half."

Another new boy making his first appearance in the starting 11, midfielder Sam Clucas, also sat out the second period.

"He still getting up to speed so he was down to play for 45 minutes or possibly an hour," Taylor said. "I didn't want to wait until we were further behind to make changes.

"The change in shape seemed to help us start the second half better. Their second goal was a whack in the teeth. There were a few tired bodies out there. There were players whose blood wasn't where it needed to be."

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Following away defeats at Huddersfield Town and Millwall in five days, the Millers are now preparing for this Saturday's visit of table-topping Preston North End who arrive at AESSEAL New York Stadium unbeaten this season.

The last time the Millers played on home soil, on September 2 in the final match before the international break, they gave their best display of the season to beat high-flying Norwich City 2-1.

Rotherham, in 21st spot, have won one, drawn one and lost five of their seven matches and have yet to keep a clean sheet.

"It's been a tough week so far," Taylor said. "We have to find a way to pick ourselves up towards the weekend. We know we can be better in so many departments.

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"I can't judge the attacking play at the moment. I have to find a way of stopping conceding goals. It's been a constant. It's not a trickle. It's just too many goals going in from very strange defensive moments."

The manager is wary of continually highlighting the deficiencies in his squad for fear of destroying their morale.

"I've got to be so, so careful," he said. "I can't keep identifying our mistakes. The players will fold confidence-wise and lose all will. The game tells them the truth. It's not me or you media guys in terms of what you write.

"We've shown we can be a competitive team at the level; I won't say a good team just yet because we haven't picked up enough points. We don't feel good enough about ourselves right now.

"Two games ago, we were feeling really good about ourselves. We have to rekindle that positive performance against Norwich."