Rotherham – a must not lose game

The good news is that we can't drop to the bottom of The Championship this weekend because Bolton are hosting Leeds in the FA Cup. Furthermore, MK Dons can't increase their lead over us as they entertain Chelsea on Sunday.  However, if we lose at Rotherham, we would see a seven point gap would open up between us and them.  To make that up would be a massive challenge for a club that has only won four games all season.

When Steve Evans departed to take over Leeds United in mid-October Rotherham were in 21st place. New man Neil Redfearn had a torrid start and, after a 2-5 home thrashing by Ipswich on November 7th, the club were in bottom place. However, since then their fortunes have been on the up. Of the thirteen games played they have won five, lost seven and only drawn one.  In fact their overall record this season is won seven, lost seventeen and drawn four compared to Charlton's won four, lost fifteen and drawn nine. This goes to show that it doesn't matter if you lose a lot of games as long as you win a few as well. Rotherham have turned over Bolton 4-0, Brighton 2-0 and Hull 2-0 at home in recent weeks, although they did lose 0-3 to QPR.

That message won't be lost on Jose Riga who lost plenty of games in the run-in to the 2013/14 season but picked up enough wins to cancel them out and achieve safety. On this occasion, however, avoiding defeat is absolutely crucial if we are going to go into our two home games with any hope and confidence.

It won't be easy. Rotherham have some seasoned Championship players like Lee Camp, Matt Derbyshire and Frazer Richardson and they have strengthened in the window by loaning Chris Burke from Forest and Luciano Becchio from Leeds.

At time of going to press the immediate future of Tony Watt is uncertain but at least Charlton may be able to welcome back Ademola Lookman to the squad.  Riga yesterday vetoed the idea of taking West Ham starlet Reece Oxford on loan.  He and Lookman may both be exceptional players but it is alarming that we could have been pinning so much hope on a couple of teenagers.

Just make sure we get out with a point at least please, Jose.  Then we can approach the Bristol City and Cardiff games with a modicum of optimism.