Date: 12th July 2018 at 9:21am
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Rotherham United might be away in Austria on a training camp this week but their thoughts will certainly be turning to next season and the Championship so let’s have a quick look at who they will be facing.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United were formed in1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club and won the original Football League in 1898. The Blades, so nicknamed because of the city’s history of stainless steel production, have won the FA Cup four times, the last one being in 1925 against Cardiff City at Wembley. Arguably the Blades darkest days were between 1975 and 1981 when they were relegated to the Second Division before getting another relegation to the Third Division in 1980. After promotion they were to fall into the bottom tier again in 1988 but after fourteen years returned to the First Division in 1990 and were founder members of the Premier League in 1992. Various managers and owners later and a few ups and downs Sheffield United got back into the Championship in the 2016/17 season.

Of the thirty-five games the Millers and Blades have played against each other Sheffield United have won twenty to Rotherham’s eight. The last meeting between the pair was in April 2014 in League One at Bramall Lane when a last minute Ben Davies goal from the penalty spot after Craig Morgan had fouled Harry Maguire.

Having been promoted from League One at the end of the 2016/17 season the Blades ended last season in a very respectful tenth place in the Championship, a season that included a win against rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

With nineteen goals Leon Clarke was Sheffield United’s top scorer last season.

Ground – Bramall Lane
Nickname – The Blades
Manager – Chris Wilder

Sheffield Wednesday

The Wednesday, as they were first known, were founding members of the Football Alliance and were it’s first champions before joining the Football League in 1892. Having played most of their football in the top tier in England Sheffield Wednesday (as they became in 1929) were founder members of the Premier League in 1992 before being relegated in 2000. First playing at Bramall Lane Wednesday moved to Olive Grove before buying land at Owlerton in in 1899 building a stadium which is now Hillsborough. Post war saw the Owls relegated a number of times although they always came straight back up and had a very successful time in the late 1950’s to mid-1960’s although a betting scandal in 1964 didn’t do them any favours. At the beginning of the 1970’s Wednesday had their worst time when they were relegated twice down to the old Third Division for the first time ever and it took them until 1984 to return to the First Division. Not doing too badly The Owls started to flirt with relegation and failed to stave it off in 2000 when they dropped out of the Premier League and then dropped into Division Two for the start of the 2003/4 season. With the change in names of English Divisions the Owls were promoted, via the play-off final, to the Championship in 2005 and have stayed there ever since.

The Millers and the Owls have played forty-two times in all competitions in the past with Wednesday winning twenty-three of those to Rotherham’s twelve. The last time the pair met was in April 2017 in the Championship at the New York Stadium when two first half goals from Steven Fletcher gave the Owls all three points.

The Owls finished last season in fifteenth place in the Championship with fifty-seven points and a minus-one goal difference.

Atdhe Nuhiu’s fourteen goals saw him named as top scorer for the Owls last season.

Ground – Hillsborough
Nickname – The Owls
Manager –Jos Luhukay

Stoke City

Founded in 1878 as Stoke Ramblers the club changed its name firstly to Stoke in 1878 and then to Stoke City in 1925 and were the second oldest professional football club in the world being founding members of the Football League in 1888. The Potters have won just one major trophy in their footballing life which was the League Cup in 1972 but have twice won the Football League Trophy. 1972/3, 1974/5 and 2011/12 saw Stoke City in Europe. Stoke played at the Victoria Ground until they moved into their new ground which is now called the bet365 Stadium.

The Millers and Potters have played forty-four times against each other in the past the last time being in the Carling Cup in November 2008. The game at the bet365 Stadium was a two-nil win for the hosts their goals coming from Glen Whelan and Danny Pugh.

Last season Stoke were relegated from the Premier League finishing second from bottom with thirty-three points.

The Potters top scorer with eight goals last season was Xherdan Shaqiri.

Ground – bet365 Stadium
Nickname – The Potters
Manager – Gary Rowett

Swansea City

Swansea City was founded in 1912 as Swansea Town joining the Football League in 1921 and changed from Town to City in 1969. After years of ups and downs 1981 saw them win promotion to the First Division topping the table on a few occassions finally ending the season in sixth place. More seasons of downs, downs and a couple of ups and worry of liquidation Swansea fought their way back into League One for the start of the 2005/6 season which also saw them move from Vetch Field to their new Liberty Stadium. 2011/12 saw Swansea back in the top tier in the Premier League after beating Reading in the Championship play-off final.

The Millers and the Swans have played together seventy-six times in the past in all competions the last time being in August 2014 in the Capital One Cup at the Liberty Stadium. The Premier League side won one-nil, the goal being scored by Bafetimbi Gomis.

The Swans were relegated at the end of last season after finishing eighteenth in the Premier League with thirty-three points.

Last Season Jordan Ayew was Swansea’s top scorer with eleven goals.

Ground – Liberty Stadium
Nickname – The Swans
Manager – Graham Potter

West Bromwich Albion

West Brom came into being in 1878 and were founding members of the Football League in 1888 where they were crowned as champions at the end of the 1919/20 season. The Baggies have won the FA Cup five times and the Football League Cup in 1966. West Brom have called The Hawthorns their home since 1900 which is the highest ground in the Football League and Premier League.

The Millers and Baggies have met just eleven times in the past the last time being in the Carling Cup in 2009. The game at the Hawthorns saw Craig Beattie put the hosts in front on ten minutes but Micky Cummins equalised nineteen minutes later. Six minutes into the second half Graham Durrans put Albion back in front but just a minute later the Millers equalised again this time from Tom Pope. The game went into extra time with Pope putting Rotherham in front for the first time on the night but another goal from Beattie and a fourth from Simon Cox gave West Brom the win.

The Baggieswere relegated after ending bottom of the Premier League last season with thirty-one points.

With eleven goals Jay Rodriguez was West Broms top scorer last season.

Ground – The Hawthorns
Nickname – The Baggies, The Throstles, The Albion
Manager – Darren Moore

Wigan Athletic

Formed in 1932 Wigan were finally elected to the Cheshire County League finishing as champions at the end of the 1933/4 season followed by a second title the following season. Finishing bottom of the league in 1946/7 they failed to get re-elected and joined the Lancashire Combination winning the title in their first season and moved back to the Cheshire League in 1961 and won their first title four years later. Wigan were founder members of the Northern Premier League and won the title in 1971. In 1972 Wigan bizarrly applied to join the Scottish League’s Second Division but, not surprisingly were knocked back. After numerous election attempts Wigan were finally elected to the Football League in 1978. They got their first League promotion at the end of the 1981/2 season and hung about there nearly getting promoted by the play-offs in 1987 losing to Swindon. 1992/3 saw Wigan relegated and were lucky not to get relegated again after ending in the bottom four of the league but with no clubs ready to be promoted from the Conference they were saved. Things didn’t really get any better until Dave Whelan, local millionaire, took over the club in February 1995 and the following year were Division Three Champions. Losing in League Two Play-Off finals three times they finally became Division Two Champions under Paul Jewel at the end of the 2002/3 season with one hundred points. May 2005 saw the Latics promoted to the top tier of the Football League finishing their first season in tenth place. After a few ups but, unfortunately, more downs, Wigan finally ended their eight year association with the Premier League at the end of the 2012/13 season – although they did win the FA Cup that year against Manchester City, becoming the first team to win the FA Cup and be relegated.

The Millers and Wigan have been involved in thirty-three games in the past the last time being last season at the DW Stadium which ended goalless.

Last season the Latics were promoted to the Championship after finishing top of League One with ninety-eight points.

Wigan’s top scorer last season was Will Grigg with twenty-six goals.

Ground – DW Stadium
Nickname – The Latics
Manager –Paul Cook

 

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