The EFL League One match coming up this Saturday, 10 August 2019, between Rotherham United F.C. and the Lincoln City F.C. will take place at New York Stadium in Rotherham, England. It is the second match of the regular season for both teams, who each come into this match off of a victory. It was The Imps taking down Accrington Stanley F.C. 2-0 in front of their home fans last Saturday. Rotherham travelled to play AFC Wimbledon, and came away from that match as 2-1 victors. This match features a team that was promoted from EFL League Two this season in Lincoln, against The Millers who were relegated after finishing 22nd in the EFL Championship last season. Both clubs significantly overhauled their rosters this offseason. This match will be a good gauge of where teams who were playing two divisions apart at this time last year match up on the pitch this year.
For Rotherham, opening up the scoring against Wimbledon in Week One, was big splash offseason signing Freddie Ladapo. It came in the aftermaths of a set piece when he put home a rebound off a corner kick play in the 29th minute. The 26-year-old striker was 6th in League One scoring last year with 18 goals, and came over from Plymouth Argyle F.C. for a record fee this offseason. The 2nd, and winning goal for Rotherham in the opener was put home by Clark Robertson. The 6 foot 2 inch tall center-back is in his 2nd season with The Millers, having appeared in 28 games for them last season in the Championship. It was midfielder Michael O'Connor that scored first for The Imps against Accy, putting them on the board first in the 35th minute. It was their leading scorer from last season, John Akinde, who came on as a sub to put the match to bed with an 81st minute penalty. For a club who made some big signings in the offseason, it was ultimately two holdovers from last year's League Two squad that put the onion in the bag for them.
The clubs have a long history against one another that dates all the way back to 1926, but they haven't been in the same tier together since a stint from 2008-2011, when they were both in EFL League Two. Without recent history to go off of, early in the season, and with 2 teams coming from different divisions last year, trying to predict this one is like pissing into a hurricane. The oddsmakers like the home side, and have Rotherham as even money favorites. As good as the looked last week, there could be some value on Lincoln at +240. The weather report looks pretty nasty for Saturday with 20 mile per hour winds, and a highly chance of rain. However, Rotherham is known league-wide for its pristine pitch, so field conditions shouldn't play an issue.
Rotherham United vs Lincoln City Vital Information
This match can be viewed on iFollow in the United States, and in the UK at 10:00 AM U.S. ET/3:00 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have not yet been announced, but will be made available on the EFL Official Website.
This will be the 95th meeting all time between Lincoln City F.C. and Rotherham United F.C.. In the previous 94 meetings, Rotherham has won 49 times, Lincoln has won 24, and there have been 21 draws. It was a 2-1 Rotherham win in the most recent of those, in an EFL Cup match at Rotherham, back on 8 August 2017. These two clubs have not met in a regular season league match since 2011, when both clubs were in League Two. In that match, Rotherham thrashed Lincoln City 6-0, at Lincoln no less.
Five Points That Shouldn’t be Overlooked
Lincoln City had a number of players, besides the goal scorers named above, who stood out against Accrington. The Imps look especially strong in the midfield. As mentioned in my Lincoln vs Accrington match recap, newly acquired Jorge Grant appeared as if he was going to be a main facilitator from them on offense, and also appeared to be a physically dominant presence up front. Midfielder Jack Payne, joined the club during the offseason, after leaving Huddersfield Town. Last year he had 8 goals and 5 assists in League One, while on loan at Bradford City F.C.. He got off to a great start this year, being named Man of the Match for last week. Joe Morrell, who was the first player that Lincoln added during a busy offseason excelled beside O'Connor, and the two defensive midfielders played a big role in interrupting the Accrington attack before it could ever real get started. Morrell made just 1 appearance with Bristol City F.C. last season, but had an excellent season with League Two Cheltenham Town F.C. in 2017-2018.
Rotherham seems to be a team the is in a perpetual cycle of promotions and relegations between League One and the Championship. Manager Paul Warne has already overseen both a promotion, and now a relegation since taking over in April of 2017. He was originally brought to the helm late in an abysmal 2017 season that saw them finish dead last in the Championship. The following season, they were able to win promotion right back, beating Shrewsbury Town F.C. in the final game of the promotion playoffs. Just one year later, they are right back, and not surprisingly considering they have been in the Championship in 4 of the last 6 season, never finishing better than 21st. However, if history is any indicator, they should be in contention to go right back up. If they aren't looking like at least playoff contenders by Boxing Day, then Warne, who has been with the club as either a player or coach since 2009, could be looking for work outside of South Yorkshire for the first time in over a decade. Lincoln, on the other hand were relegated to non-league in 2011, and spent 6 years there before earning promotion back to League Two in 2016-17. They have been on a rocket ride since Danny Cowley and his brother Nicky took over, needing just two seasons to make their way out of League Two.
In their opening match, The Millers lined up in a 4-3-3 with Michael Smith up front. The 27-year-old is now in his 3rd season with Rotherham, and had 8 goals and 4 assists for them in the Championship last year. He is also an already an accomplished player in League One, having scored as many as 13 goals in as season at this tier, when he was at Swindon Town F.C. in 2014-15. Ladapo and Kyle Vassell were on either side of Smith. We already know about Ladapo, but Vassell is a bit of a question mark. He had back to back 11 goal seasons at Blackpool F.C., including one of those in League One in 2017-2018. Last season, he joined Rotherham, and failed to find the back of the net in 23 appearances. Granted, only 9 of those were starts, but not managing to score even once in a total of 897 minutes is not good for a guy that is paid to do that in his role. I am going to go with that the Championship was just a bit more than he could chew off, and he will have a bounce back season this year in League One. Any time you had a front line of 3 guys capable of scoring 10 or more goals, they are likely to be dangerous. If Vassell finds his form from Blackpool, we could be looking at a combined 35+ goals from this trio.
The Imps came out against Accrington in a 4-2-31 against Accrington, with Tyler Walker up front. Lincoln City is expecting big things from 22-year-old, who scored 22 goals for Mansfield Town F.C. in League Two last season. Along with newcomers Walker, Grant, and Payne, the other man in the Lincoln front 4 is Harry Anderson. He has been a staple with The Imps all the way since their time in the National League in 2016-2017. Last year was his first as a full time starter, and he contributed 5 goals and 3 assists in 39 starts for the League Two champs last season. With all of the new blood on the roster, Anderson, who himself is just 22-years-old will be counted on as the veteran leader of sorts, at least in terms of knowing Cowley's system. Cowley has done an impressive job of building up his roster, while still managing to maintain a few stalwarts in key positions, including Anderson and goalkeeper Josh Vickers. He has also done a good job in adding players like Grand and Walker who have tasted the Championship as youngsters, and will be hungry to fight their way back to that tier.
To say that Lincoln has a bit of history to overcome on Saturday would be an understatement. In fact, by the time they take the field on Saturday, it will have been over 20 years since Lincoln last beat Rotherham on 7 August 1999. The last time that Lincoln played Rotherham and didn't lose was on 4 December 1999, a 1-1 draw. They have played a total of 10 times in the new millennium, and Rotherham has won all of them by a combined score of 23 to 6. Lincoln has only scored more than 1 goal more than once in those 10 matches, and that was 9 games ago when they scored twice, in a 3-2 loss in 2008. It's not a situation where these games are recent and some of these guys have now lost 7 or 8 in-a-row to the same club, but at the same time history like this gives added pressure going into the match.
Rotherham United vs Lincoln City Prediction
All the signs seem to point in favor of the home side on paper in this one. Not only is Rotherham the more pedigreed side, but they have absolutely owned this series recently and all-time. However, this is a new breed of Lincoln City, and on a windy and rainy day like it is expected to be, things tend to go in favor of a team with the most lunch pale type players. This is not to take anything away from Rotherham, it is just that they feel like a team that is built to score a lot of goals. Lincoln is team that still just 3 years removed from non-league, with guys on the roster who have grinded their way up with them. In last week's game at Accrington, they showed the ability to control and play with the ball in the first half. However, they looked more dangerous and comfortable on the counter attack late in the game after Accrington became more aggressive in their attack. I expect Rotherham to be the aggressor, but won't be surprised if the find it difficult going with Morrell and O'Connor causing disruption in the midfield. It is going to take a big day from Vickers, because Rotherham will get their chances in, but if he can make a few big saves, I think the Imps can come away with a point on the road.
Prediction – Rotherham - 1 Lincoln City - 1