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The size of Neil Redfearn’s Rotherham task has become apparent

22 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
The size of Neil Redfearn’s Rotherham task has become apparent

One point from the manager's first two games has returned the Millers to the drop zone - his side face local rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Friday

By Joe Mewis
In the two weeks that Neil Redfearn has had to get his feet under his desk at Rotherham, the size of the task ahead of him will have become all-too obvious.

Steve Evans was sacked just as he hauled the Millers out of the relegation zone before the international break, but after a loss and a draw in Redfearn’s first two games, the side find themselves back in the drop zone, just a single point off the bottom.

With the sombrero-enthusiast now nestled snuggly into Redfearn’s old post at Leeds, just how can the former Barnsley midfielder steady the ship at the New York Stadium?

One of the main strings to Redfearn’s bow is his record at developing youth talent.

At Leeds, he oversaw the emergence of Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt and this is likely the main reason he landed the job in South Yorkshire.

Striker Jonson Clarke-Harris is perhaps the brightest young talent on their books, having netted three goals already this season after he was seemingly on his way out of the club under Evans last season.

If Redfern can help the 21-year-old reach the next stage of his development, he will be able to provide the goals that could make the difference in the fight against relegation this season.

Another key player could be former Manchester United academy centre-back Tom Thorpe, who was drafted back into the side for the draw against Reading.

Playing in an unfamiliar position in front of the back four, Thorpe was able to show off some of the ball-playing attributes which led to him being handed the captain’s armband in the Red Devils’ reserve side and earn an England Under-21 cap.

There’s a very good player in there with Thorpe and if Redfearn can coax him out, it will solve a lot of the Millers’ current problems.

A trio of loanees in Farrend Rawson, Grant Ward and Harry Toffolo all offer plenty of potential and, although the old school of thought shies away from throwing youngsters in during a relegation fight, it worked for Redfearn at Elland Road last year.

Drawing lessons from last season’s campaign at Leeds, perhaps the most crucial area for Redfearn will be to sort out is his backroom staff.

It is no coincidence that his best spell at Elland Road came when assistant Steve Thompson was there with him, as he was to mend bridges in what was a fractured squad that was demoralised from the perma-chaos that accompanies Massimo Cellino.

Now at Preston, former Millers midfielder Thompson would be a useful ally for Redfern if he can tempt him away from Deepdale.

Thompson’s man-management skills could be able to broker a truce with Greg Halford, who was stripped of the captaincy by Evans earlier this season and hasn’t played for the side in more than a month.

If Redfearn wanted a game in which to fire up his new troops, then he’s got one on Friday night.

The Sky Sports cameras are in town for the South Yorkshire derby against a Sheffield Wednesday side that hasn’t tasted defeat in six Championship games.

Redfearn has plenty of experience in Yorkshire derbies and if he can impart this to his young charges, he could be able to land a huge morale-boosting first win of his tenure.

Rotherham v Sheffield Wednesday betting

10/1 – Atdhe Nuhiu to score first and Sheffield Wednesday win

Championship betting

READ: Blackburn v Burnley is a must-win derby clash for differing reasons