New York, New York (Stadium): So good that Preston North End manager Alex Neil went twice to Rotherham this week

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil had two trips to South Yorkshire in 24 hours in a bid to scout Saturday’s opponents Rotherham.

The Millers were due to play Derby on Tuesday but a waterlogged pitch saw the game switched to Wednesday evening.

Neil had got to the New York Stadium by the time it was postponed on Tuesday.

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Intent on watching Paul Warne’s side in action before they come to Deepdale, he made the same trip across the M62 the day after.

Preston North End manager Alex NeilPreston North End manager Alex Neil
Preston North End manager Alex Neil

He saw Rotherham beat the Rams 3-0, all the goals coming in the last 14 minutes from Michael Ihiekwe, Michael Smith and Ryan Giles.

It was their second win over Wayne Rooney’s side in less than three weeks after beating Derby 1-0 at Pride Park on January 16.

Neil said: “I was at the game on Wednesday night and they played very well.

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“Unfortunately I went to the game the night before and a steward told me the match was off.

Rotherham's clash with Derby was postponed on Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch and played 24 hours laterRotherham's clash with Derby was postponed on Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch and played 24 hours later
Rotherham's clash with Derby was postponed on Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch and played 24 hours later

“The one thing you know about Rotherham is that you are going to be in a game.

“They make if difficult, it is tough, they run, they fight.

“Rotherham are particularly strong in a new shape they are playing which makes them hard to break down.

“It’s going to be a tough game. They have won 3-0 against both Middlesbrough and Derby, so there’s every reason they can stay up in the Championship.

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“Rotherham have a lot of confidence in what Paul Warne is doing.

“When they went down the year before last, he brought them straight back up.

“That was despite having to do some rebuilding because they lost some good players.”

Rotherham, who beat PNE 2-1 in the reverse fixture at the start of November, are in a patch of good form.

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They gained confidence from taking Everton to extra time in the FA Cup, before the first win over Derby.

They drew 3-3 with Stoke at home before winning 3-0 at Middlesbrough.

A bump in the road saw them beaten 3-1 last Saturday by Swansea but they bounced back beating Derby.

They know where the net is at the moment, with striker Michael Smith having support from Matt Crooks in a 3-5-1-1.

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Smith has scored seven times in the Championship this season, Crooks and Freddie Ladapo both having netted five goals.

Reflecting on the win over Derby, Millers boss Warne said: “We didn’t start as well as I would have liked. I thought we showed them too much respect.

“In the end I thought we could have scored more.

“It was an edgy game but to come away with a clean sheet and three goals is very pleasing.

“The players have been magnificent, even in defeats.

“We’ve had three wins out of five – with the amount of games left, we have our destiny in our hands.”

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The Millers head to PNE in 22nd place, two points behind Birmingham in 21st.

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