Forget just Rotherham United versus Wigan Athletic, says Millers boss Steve Evans ... the battle for Championship survival extends to at least six clubs.
Evans’ side are five points ahead of the Latics, who occupy the third and final relegation spot going into a potentially pivotal Easter weekend.
But the Rotherham boss also has his eyes on a number of other teams he believes are caught up in the scrap with seven matches of the season to go.
“People are getting very focused on us and Wigan Athletic. But it’s not just Rotherham United and Wigan,” he said,
“I’d suggest Millwall will still believe they have a part to play.
“I would certainly think the likes of Fulham will think they’ve got some results to get, Brighton, who we play on Monday, have got some points to get, Huddersfield, who got to Hillsborough on Saturday, have got some results to get.
Brighton are five points ahead of the Millers’ tally of 40, Huddersfield four and Fulham three, while Millwall are seven points adrift.
Bolton Wanderers are only five points in front of Rotherham, while Reading are four points clear although the FA Cup semi-finalists have a game in hand.
“If Brighton beat Norwich tomorrow, I would suggest they’re safe. But if they lose to them and then to us, they’re right bang in it,” Evans said.
“We just need to keep focused. We have seven games and we can win every one of those games. But we can lose every one. That’s the tight margins we’re facing.”
“I’ve always thought if you get to 46 points you’d be unfortunate to leave this division. But you can’t set a points target because if you reach it and then get relegated you’d be smashing your head against a brick wall as a manager. We just have to make sure we’re not in the bottom three at Leeds around 2.30pm on May 2.”
Rotherham are today away to Birmingham where they will be without centre-half/midfielder Kari Arnason (suspended), right-back Frazer Richardson (injured) and, more than likely, attacker Danny Ward (injured).
Ward had looked to have recovered from the foot problem which saw him miss four matches before the international break, playing for the reserves and also in a training-ground friendly.
“He played against Man City and did great, then he just pulls the ball down in training and felt it,” said Evans.
“The medical team are then saying he’s 97/98 per cent fit but he’s not 100. The one thing we’ve said as a management team is that we’re not going to play players who are 98 pc fit.”
Teenage centre-half Farrend Rawson is with the Millers until Monday and they have an option to extend his youth loan from Derby.
Evans believes keeping the Millers up with the smallest budget in the second tier would exceed any of his past accomplishments.
“We were fighting for a goal which was to get promotion out of League Two. We were fighting for a goal which was to get promotion out of League One. Now we’re fighting for the biggest goal of all, which is to stay in the Championship,” he said.
“In football you have a document which tells you what each other has spent,” said Evans.
“Since the Championship has become what it is today, there has never been a club with the lowest resources survive. They’ve always gone. We could be the first team to do that. That would be a fantastic achievement.”