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15:41 22nd March 2013
By  Kit Sproson

Preview: Rotherham United v Exeter City

Game by game, Exeter City are slowly consolidating their position near the top of npower League 2 and look to further their claim to automatic promotion this Saturday with a visit to play-off rivals Rotherham.

With results around League 2 generally going their way of late, the Grecians find themselves high up the ladder in fifth position – just three points behind surprise package Burton in third – and will be encouraged by a superior goal difference to believe that the top spots are still up for grabs.  The Millers themselves are still right in the mix and are daring to re-reach those dizzy Championship-heights that they experienced in the early 2000s, so three points against Exeter with a game in hand would be (needless to say) invaluable to them also. 

Despite the Chuckle Brothers being appointed honorary presidents of Rotherham United in 2007, both teams are well aware that this weekend’s match will be no laughing matter.

Had the Millers not faced that old chestnut (financial difficulties) when they were back competing in the Championship then, who knows, we might have seen them progress even further and eventually challenge for Europa League glory – as it is they find themselves here on the cusp of npower League 1. 

Indeed during their high-flying days the Millers were recording notable victories against the likes of West Ham and Sheffield United, and forcing League Cup replays with Arsenal.  The New York Stadium may not boast of architectural features as grand as Times Square or the Statue of Liberty, but both sets of fans will certainly guarantee a rousing atmosphere for the players.

Despite Rotherham’s wobbles as of late and the Grecians’ proven ability to overturn some of the league’s top teams on their own patch this season, you can still get great odds through our friends at Bet Butler –they’ve got odds of 11/4 for the Grecians to take the points from the New York Stadium. 

Match Officials
Referee: Scott Duncan
Assistants: Wayne Porter & Ollie Yates
Fourth Official: Mark Dwyer

Team News
There are no fresh injury concerns for Exeter City, but that still means that Alan Gow, Tommy Doherty, Myles Anderson and Matt Oakley will all be sidelined.  Lawson D’Ath could retain his starting berth after an impressive debut, and new loan signing Anton Rodgers will be eligible to play.

Kari Arnason returns from suspension for the Millers, and Lionel Ainsworth has been recalled from his loan at Aldershot in order to cover for Kieran Agard, who is ill.

Previous Meeting
A repeat of the reverse fixture in favour of the away team wouldn’t go amiss if we are looking at past encounters.  Last time around Rotherham – who were incidentally in seventh place back in November too – came out on top 1-0 courtesy of an Ian Sharps’ header, despite being down to 10 men.  Matt Oakley and Alan Gow came close for the Grecians that day, and though Exeter left St James Park empty-handed, Paul Tisdale was happy with the effort and commitment of the players in frankly atrocious weather.

Form Guide 
Exeter have definitely been displaying the kind of form that gets teams promoted of late (who can argue with 4-1 against Capital One Cup finalists Bradford?) as well as proving to be a sturdy outfit.  The team haven’t conceded many goals over the last few weeks and have picked up some superb results at home, meaning that the St James Park atmosphere could play a pivotal role come the end of the season.  Rotherham will arguably be lacking in confidence currently, having picked up one point from nine recently.  They were hammered 3-0 against Cheltenham most recently so don’t be surprised to see them starting off a little shaky on Saturday.