With Rotherham United at a training camp in Germany this week, let’s have a quick look at some of next season’s opponents.
Ground – The Keepmoat Stadium
Nickname – Rovers
Manager – Vacant
Rovers were formed in 1879 turning professional six years later and have won the Division Four, Division Three and Division Two title three times and in 1946/7 set a record for the most games won in a league season – which was thirty-three.
May 2008 saw them beat West Yorkshire rivals Leeds United at Wembley in the League One Play-Off to move into the Championship. After a struggle in the 2011/12 season Rovers were relegated but went straight back up the following season but again were relegated. It went from bad to worse as at the end of the 2014/15 season they found themselves relegated to League Two while they were back in League One after promotion two years later.
Grant McCann took over the reigns last summer helping Rovers to finish in the last of the play-off positions which saw them into the play-offs going out on a penalty shoot-out to Charlton Athletic. JOHN MARQUIS was top scorer for Rovers wading in with an impressive twenty-five goals. In June McCann left the Keepmoat going to take over the job at Hull City with Rovers still awaiting a new manager.
The teams have met eighty-six times in the past, seventy-six of those being in the league. The last time was in February 2018 when a John Marquis goal on thirty-nine minutes looked like it would be the winner but in twelve minutes of stoppage time a Michael Smith header followed by a Joe Newell goal from the penalty spot saw the Millers seventh successive league victory of the campaign.
Ground – Highbury Stadium
Nickname – The Trawlermen or The Fishermen
Manager – Joey Barton
Originally established in 1908 Fleetwood FC were founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968. 1976 money troubles saw the club fold but 1977 saw Fleetwood Town FC take their place in Division One of the Cheshire League but nineteen years later the club folded again.
This current Fleetwood Town club was formed in 1997 as Fleetwood Wanderers and were placed in Division One of the North West Counties Football League immediately changing their name, due to a sponsorship deal, to Fleetwood Freeport FC. Promotion to the Premier Division of the North West Counties League in 1999 saw them become Fleetwood Town again.
The Trawlermen had a few successful years and the end of the 2011/12 season saw them promoted to the Football League. The 2013/14 saw them get to the League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley beating Burton Albion one-nil to get into League One.
After various managers and interim managers in the last four years or so Joey Barton took up the reigns at the beginning of last season leading Fleetwood to a very credible eleventh place in League One. PADDY MADDEN was top scorer last season with nineteen goals.
The clubs have met just four times in the past in the league, the last time being at the New York Stadium in April 2018. Ashley Eastham put the visitors in front on just five minutes but a Nathan Pond og and a Joe Newell goal gave the Millers the lead. Cian Bolger put Fleetwood back in front with Richard Wood getting the winner thirteen minutes from time for the hosts.
Ground – Priestfield Stadium
Nickname – The Gills
Manager – Steve Evans
Founded in 1893, Gillingham joined the Football League in 1920 but were voted out at the end of the 1937/8 season returning twelve years later. Going into administration in 1995 the club were threatened with expulsion but in the summer Paul Scally, a London-based businessman, stepped in and bought the club and the following season the Gills were promoted to the Old Division Three.
1999 saw Gillingham get to the play-offs in Division Two losing out to Manchester City but the following season they were at Wembley again in the play-off final beating Wigan to reach League One. A few relegations and promotions happened over the next few seasons with their last promotion coming in May 2012 to League One. June 2019 saw former Millers Boss Steve Evans take over the Gills.
Last season saw the Gills finish in thirteen place with manager Steve Lovell sacked in April Mark Patterson was put in temporary charge with former Millers manager Steve Evans appointed in May. Top scorer was another former Miller’s loanee TOM EAVES.
The Millers and Gills last met at Priestfield in April 2018 when the only goal of the game came on twenty minutes from Will Vaulks.
Ground – Portman Road
Nickname – The Tractor Boys
Manager – Paul Lambert
Ipswich Town were founded in 1878 but not turning professional until fifty-eight years later joining the football league in 1938 playing in Division Three (South). They won the title at the end of the 1953/4 season but were relegated straight back down the following year but began to make better progress when Alf Ramsey took over as manager in 1955 and in 1961 won promotion to the top tier of English football. Under Bobby Robson the team flourished and in 1981 went on to win the UEFA Cup.
Robson left in 1982 to manage England with the end of the 1985/6 season seeing them relegated to the Second Division. John Duncan was replaced John Lyall who got Ipswich promoted as champions of the Second Division into the new Premier League where they held on in there for a couple of seasons before Lyall was sacked and under George Burley they were relegated. Burley took them to three successive play-offs before they returned to the Premier League in 2000 via a Wembley win over Barnsley. After a good first season in the top tier the following season saw them relegated back to the Championship. Joe Royle took over after Burley was sacked and after getting Ipswich into the play-offs twice he resigned in 2006 and Jim Magilton took over who was himself replaced by Roy Keane in 2009. Various other managers came and went with Mick McCarthy arrived in November 2012 steering them away from relegation.
With Manager Mick McCarthy leaving Ipswich in April 2018 former Miller Paul Hurst was named as the Tractor Boys new Manager after the season ended. It was a disastrous start to last season for Hurst with one win in the first fourteen games and after another loss that saw Town firmly rooted to the bottom of the Championship he was sacked in October. Paul Lambert came in but couldn’t stop Town being relegated by mid-April after a seventeen year stint in the Championship. GWION EDWARDS was top scorer for the Tractor Boys last season with six goals.
The Millers and Ipswich last met in January at Portman Road when the only goal of the game was from Will Keane who was on loan from Hull City giving the hosts all three points.
Stadium – stadium mk
Nickname – The Dons
Manager – Paul Tisdale
The club officially consider themselves as founded in 2004 although they are a club coming out of Wimbledon FC’s move to Milton Keynes in September 2003.
MK Dons appeared in League One in the 2004/5 season, two years later getting relegated to League Two but winning the title in their new home stadium mk at the end of the 2007/8 season.
2014/15 saw them promoted to the Championship but after just one season were relegated back to League One and the 2017/18 saw them drop to League Two.
Paul Tisdale took over as Manager in June 2018 and with a one-nil win over Mansfield Town on the last day of the season they went above the Stags into the last automatic promotion place to see them start this coming season back in League One. Former Millers favourite KIERAN AGARD was the Dons’ top scorer with twenty-one goals.
The pair last met in League One in March 2018 at the Stadium:mk. Semi Ajayi put the Millers in front but two goals from Robbie Muirhead and another from Peter Pawlett gave the hosts a three-one lead. Jon Taylor made it an interesting last fifteen minutes when he made it three-two but the Dons got all three points on the night.
Ground – Kassam Stadium
Nickname – The U’s
Head Coach – Karl Robinson
Founded as Headington United in 1893 the name Oxford United was adopted in 1960.
After winning the Southern Football League Oxford joined the Football League in 1962, reaching the Second Division six years later. Moving up and down between the leagues between 1976 and 1986 the U’s won the FA Cup beating QPR three-nil in 1986 but due to a UEFA ban on all English Clubs were unable to take their place in the UEFA Cup. 2001 saw them leave their home at the Manor Ground and move into the Kassam Stadium. In 2006 the club were back in the Conference becoming the first club n the history of English football that had won a major trophy to be relegated from the Football League.
In 2010 they reached and won the Conference Play-Off Final with 2016 seeing them promoted to League One. A couple of managerial casualties saw Derek Fazackerley become caretaker in January 2018 with Karl Robinson being appointed manager two months later.
Last season The U’s finished the season in twelfth place with thirteen goals seeing JAMES HENRY the top scorer.
February 2018 saw the last meeting between Oxford and Rotherham at the New York Stadium when Anthony Forde and Richie Towell put the Millers two-up only for a goal two minutes from half-time from James Henry half the deficit. But a Michael Smith goal six minutes into the second half gave the hosts all three points.
Ground – London Road
Nickname – The Posh
Manager – Darren Ferguson
Replacing Peterborough and Fletton United Peterborough United were formed in 1934 and played in the Midland League winning it six times before 1960 saw them eventually admitted to the Football League when they won the Fourth Division at the first time of asking.
Due to financial irregularities they were relegated back to the Fourth Division in 1968 staying their six years before they gained promotion again being relegated back again in 1979. 1991 saw them promoted again when they surged up the table getting to Wembley for the first time and winning the the Third Division Play-Off Final getting promoted to the new First Division staying there until 1996.
January 2007 saw Darren Ferguson come to London Road as Manager leading them to back-to-back promotions but were relegated in 2010 when Gary Johnson was appointed Manager. January 2011 saw Ferguson back in charge and he led them back to the Championship but a loss in the final game of the season saw them go straight back down to League One again where they’ve been since. Ferguson left the club by mutual consent in February 2015 and former Millers Boss Steve Evans was given the job. Evans left in January 2019 and just hours later Darren Ferguson was back in charge at London Road.
The Posh finished last season just one point and one place outside the play-off positions in League One with IVAN TONEY bagging twenty goals to be top scorer.
Good Friday 2018 was the last time the Millers and Peterborough met when a goal from Caolan Lavery gave the Millers the lead at the New York Stadium. But eight minutes into time added on Jack Marriott got a point for Posh.
Ground – Fratton Park
Nickname – Pompey
Manager – Kenny Jackett
Founded in 1898 the club joined the Southern League a year later and after a successful few seasons saw them join the Football League’s Third Division for the 1920/21 season moving up to the Second Division at the start of the 1924/5 season.
Pompey were promoted to the First Division for the 1927/8 season when they just managed to survive relegation. After a couple of defeats in FA Cup Finals Portsmouth defeated Wolves to win the 1939 Final. 1948/49 and 1949/50 saw them win back-to-back First Division titles but they struggled a bit after that and 1959 saw them relegated going down again two years later although they came straight back up again.
1976 saw the club in financial difficulties and three years later saw them relegated to the Fourth Division. Two years later they gained promotion and 1986/7 saw them promoted to the First Division but again they had financial problems and were relegated eventually going into administration in December 1998 with Milan Mandaric coming in to save the day. 2002/3 saw Plymouth win the First Division title and promotion to the Premier League. Having a steady time in the Premier League 2008 saw them win the FA Cup again beating Cardiff City seeing them earn a place in the 2008/9 UEFA Cup. 2009 again saw the club have money problems and they were placed under a transfer embargo and were eventually given a nine point penalty and ended up being relegated. 2011 saw them go into administration yet again and got an automatic ten point penalty and again they were relegated. The following season things got no better and they were relegated to League Two at the end of the 2012/13 season. The end of the 2016/17 season saw Pompey champions of League Two missing the League One play-offs by just five points the following season.
Former Millers Manager (well, we say manager ….) Kenny Jackett took over at Fratton Park for the start of the 2017/18 season and last season he led them to the EFL Trophy win at Wembley and then back to Wembley for the League One Play-Off Final where they lost to Sunderland, who they’d beaten at Wembley in March in the Trophy game. JAMAL LOWE was Pompey’s top scorer last season with sixteen goals.
The last time Portsmouth and Rotherham met was at the New York Stadium in League One in January 2018 when Joe Mattock scored the only goal of the game a minute into stoppage time to give the hosts all three points.