Derby days, bragging rights, packed grounds and impassioned fans ...
Rotherham United midfielder Lee Frecklington appreciates them all, but what he really cares most about tomorrow is winning three points.
The Millers take on South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday at AESSEAL New York Stadium looking to put more daylight between themselves and the Championship drop zone.
And the man whose long-range effort settled the match for Rotherham the last time the clubs met at New York said: ‘Bragging rights’ is just a term you use for the fans. They can brag about it down the pub.
“For us, as players, it’s just another game. We know the importance of it for the fans, but for us it’s about three points - and a massive three points that we need at this crucial stage.”
With eight matches remaining, the Millers are six points clear of third-from-bottom Wigan Athletic and will be cheered on against the Owls by a full house.
Steve Evans’ men lost 2-0 at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, and Frecklington, who hit the post in the second half with a thumping volley at the City Ground, believes tomorrow’s showdown comed at an ideal team.
“It’s probably what we need. It is a massive game, and for whatever reason people do seem to raise their game for derbies. They seem to be more important,” he said. “It’s exactly what we need to bounce back from the disappointing result against Forest.
“I know what this fixture means to the fans. I realised that when we played them in the cup in my first full season here.
“It’s a massive one for the fans and it’s massive one for us, not only as a local derby but as a game in which we need to points.”
Frecklington drove home the winner from 20 yards in a 2-1 Capital One Cup victory over Wednesday in August 2014 during the Millers’ League One promotion season.
The Millers troubled play-off-chasing Forest but lost out to two quickfire goals on the stroke of half-time.
“If you take the two goals out of the equation we were well and truly in the game and probably had more chances to get something out of it,” Frecklington said.
“We felt we should have got something out of the game but you can’t be too down. We’ve got a massive game on Saturday. We’ve got to lift ourselves up and beat Wednesday at home. It’s the only thing you can do.”
Frecklington is back in the side after a frustrating spell on the sidelines through injury and then suspension.
“I’m enjoying being back. I’ve been out for a long time, a lot longer than I wanted to be.” he said.
“It took a while to get back in the team, but its just a matter of trying to play as many games as I can between now and the end of the season.”
Rotherham will be without Kari Arnason who picked up his 10th booking of the sseason on Wednesday, while Jack Hunt, who came off with a stuff hip, is rated 50:50.
But boss Evans brushed off any concerns, insisting: “We’ve got a derby against Sheffield Wednesday. We’ll be ready. Don’t worry about that.”