Will Vaulks says Rotherham United fans have a big part to play in Sheffield United derby

WILL Vaulks has issued an eve-of-derby call for Rotherham United fans to be the noisy neighbours when Sheffield United arrive in town on Saturday.
Will VaulksWill Vaulks
Will Vaulks

Midfielder Vaulks says the home supporters can make the difference as the 19th-placed Millers do Championship battle with the promotion-chasing Blades at AESSEAL New York Stadium (kick-off 12.30pm).

The South Yorkshire showdown is a virtual sell-out, even though it is being shown live on Sky TV, and Vaulks said: “A derby makes the atmosphere better. The game means that little bit more, even though every game in the Championship is huge. The atmosphere definitely gets through to the players.

Supporters might not realise it because they've never been players, but the effect they have can be massive.

“Not many players would say the atmosphere doesn't influence them.

“In the big moments, when the fans are behind you, it definitely has a good effect. When the fans are really going for it, like they generally are in a derby, the intensity of the game goes up.”

Rotherham are unbeaten in their last five matches and have lost just once at home this season. Chris Wilder's side head across the M1 in fourth spot even though they have won only one of their last five fixtures.

Vaulks, hoping to win an instant recall after being banned for the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers before the international break, believes the New York crowd could be in for a thriller.

Sheffield United are a very good footballing side,” he said. “They pass the ball well, get the ball wide. They play a different shape to most teams. They're very attacking.

“They play on the front foot. It could be an end-to-end game.

“Possibly they will be wary about playing us because of our home record, but they defend by attacking and I imagine that won't change much. They seem to want to go all guns blazing and so do we to an extent. If it does go end to end, that will probably suit us.”

The 25-year-old, who had been a league ever-present before his suspension for picking up five yellow cards, used the two-week rest from action to sort out a hip niggle and is raring to go.

“I'm really excited about it,” he said. “It will be good to get back into action after the international break.

“We've done plenty on work on them and how they play because they play quite differently. They play nothing like the teams we've come up against so far.

“It's going to be buzzing in the stadium.

“You can't beat a derby.”

 

LOOK WHO'S IN GOAL FOR THE BLADES

IT wasn't Sheffield United's Dean Henderson's 'Greatest' moment.

The young shot-stopper came for the ball when he was at Shrewsbury Town last season, found himself in no-man's land and Richard Wood scored the winner for Rotherham United at New Meadow.

The pair could come up against each other this weekend as Manchester United's Henderson is now starring on loan for the Blades and almost certain to be in the team Chris Wilder brings to the AESSEAL New York Stadium for the South Yorkshire derby.

Wood will be the last player Henderson wants to see again. The Millers captain went on to put the ball past the 21-year-old twice more in the League One Play-off Final to win promotion for Paul Warne's men.

Henderson had described himself as 'The Greatest' on Twitter in the build-up to that Shrews clash on February 17, a boast that hadn't gone unnoticed in the Rotherham camp.

“Let’s just say he’s a confident lad,” said Wood after teammate Will Vaulks had made a beeline for the keeper as soon as the goal was given.

“He’s tried to come out when I scored, flapped at it and got nowhere near it. The lads were just having a word. Will was just reminding him.”

The Millers will need no reminding of how good Henderson is. His gaff last term was a rare error and the youngster's form is a major reason why the Blades are fourth in the Championship and looking capable of sustaining their push for the Premier League even though they have won only of their last five league outings.

The last time the two clubs met at New York was in the Millers' 2013/14 League One promotion season under Steve Evans when September goals from Kieran Agard, Daniel Nardiello and Rob Milsom brought a 3-1 home win after Jose Baxter had given the visitors a 1-0 half-time lead.