Owls boss Brian Laws may have been looking towards the South Yorkshire derby as a chance to blood some of his younger players and fringe players in the squad against lower league opposition.
But now Laws is set to field a strong side in search of a confidence boost at Hillsborough following the opening day drubbing by Ipswich on Saturday and the departure of Chris Brunt to West Brom this week.
But the Millers will be no pushovers – Mark Robins is hoping to transfer their fortunes after taking over the reigns last season and a victory over public enemy number one will go down well in the streets of Rotherham.
Brian Laws told the official SWFC website:
‘We have recognised that there are nine casualties out of the Championship already who have been knocked out by lower league teams.
‘It will be tough. It’s a local derby, there’ll be a decent gate and, on top of that, the Sky cameras will be there so we are taking the game very seriously.’
‘We are going to put a strong squad out. I will make some changes to the team, while also bearing in mind Sunday’s game. But I will be putting a team out to win the game.
‘It is important that we try and put a cup run together. It is valuable to us and is another area in which we can get funding, over and above what we can get on the gates.’
Mark Robins told the Rotherham Star:
‘Somebody did say to me that we’d got a lot of new players and he hoped they knew what a win would mean for the fans and everyone, Well, I don’t think there’s any danger of us misunderstanding or anyone not realising – you only have to look at all the connections we have.’
‘Graham Coughlan has just come from Wednesday; Peter Holmes started his career there; Andy Warrington’s a Sheffield lad, so too Paul Hurst, Dale Tonge’s been at Barnsley and got Rotherham connections in the family and so he’s aware; Stephen Brogan comes from just up the road and loves this club, he knows what it’s about on that score.’
‘The rest will have got the vibes too and, don’t forget, there’s me and ‘Breck’ (John Breckin) too, so the message will have got through.’
‘But, at the end of it all, no matter who the opposition tonight, we want to go out there and get a win for this football club and the fans, and progress to the next round. If we can pull off a surprise, then fine and it will be just another match on the way to this football club successfully turning itself round.’
‘Look, we are under no illusions. We are facing a Championship team and it will be very difficult for us and they’ll obviously start favourites. We’ll give it our best shot.’
Rotherham United Team News:
The Millers have been given a boost with the news that Blackpool loanee Marcus Bean has been given clearance from the Championship club to play in the Carling Cup.
And Bean is all set to get a starting shirt for the hosts should he recover from a virus in time for kick-off.
And the Millers have an almost fully fit squad for their first home game of the season with no injuries to report from the weekend, although Tom Cahill is out after having a recent cartilage operation and Mark Hudson is also out with a knee injury.
Former Owl Graham Coughlan is all set to feature against his former team mates just months after being booted out of S6 by Brian Laws.
Player to watch: Graham Coughlan
No doubt the travelling Wednesday fans will give a great reception to the former Owls captain who was booted out of Hillsborough during the summer after being deemed surplus to requirements. The never-say-die defender will be a rock for the Millers and it would be no surprise to see him bag a goal at the other end.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Laws has stated that changed definately will be made to the side that got thumped 4-1 in the opening day clash at Ipswich Town at the weekend.
Laws could bring in a few fresh faces to rest some players but could also be testing out players in new positions ahead of Wednesday’s more important league clash against Wolves on Sunday.
Deon Burton could be one of the changes to the side after the former Millers man missed out on the opening day with a knee injury.
Burton is likely to get a hot reception from the Millmoor fahtful for the way he left Rotherham for the Owls almost two years ago, but will provide the Owls with additional firepower in attack.
Defenders Lee Bullen and Peter Gilbert were central to most of the flack from the weekend defeat and could be dropped with Richard Hinds and Tommy Spurr waiting in the wings.
Chris Brunt would have started a three-match ban but his departure means that Wade Small is the likely candidate to deputise on the left-wing while Laws hopes to complete a deal for a winger by the weekend.
Player to watch: Jermaine Johnson
With Brunt no winging his way to the Baggies, jet-heeled Johnson is certain to the Owls’ biggest threat going forward and Millers fans should know all about him after he featured against them for Bradford last term. Was one of the better performers from the weekend and will be key to Wednesday’s progression.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
Rotherham 0-2 Wednesday
The Owls hadn’t had the best of records against their local rivals but goals from Shefki Kuqi and Adam Proudlock gave Owls fans reason to cheer after a heavy New Years Eve and kick-off 2003 with a comfortble victory.
Wednesday wins: 18
Rotherham wins: 10
19/08/07 – Wolves (H) – 1.30pm
25/08/07 – Charlton (A) – 3pm
01/09/07 – Bristol City (H) – 12.45pm