The Dean Hall fan column: It’s close, but I’m not celebrating yet!

Action on a hostile night in Bristol
Action on a hostile night in Bristol

Almost there? Some people think so, but I’ve watched the Millers for too long to count any chickens just yet.

The prospect of Championship safety looms ever closer as Neil Warnock’s men prepare to take on MK Dons in a vital encounter tomorrow at Stadium:mk

After a great point on Tuesday night at fellow relegation candidates Bristol City, the Millers went six points clear of tomorrow’s opponents, despite dropping a place to 21st. The long trip home was worthwhile after seeing us grind out a gutsy point in front of a very hostile home crowd that probably expected us to roll over under the long balls we were bombarded with.

It seemed to me that home gaffer Lee Johnson got himself in so much of a huff about our own management team with his pre-match comments that he forgot to concentrate on their own game-plan in the first 45 minutes. A very strong-willed referee made sure the game remained competitive throughout, and I thought Mr Ward from Surrey had a good evening. Officials get enough stick, so credit where it’s due.

After going 1-0 up but then conceding 10 minutes after half time, we saw the game out quite comfortably in the end. Once again, this is testament to the hard work going into keeping things nice and tight, and the philosophy of building from the back. With MK losing, the point turned into an even sweeter one. Many of us were still getting our breath back from the Leeds game last Saturday, but that’s what this time of the season is all about - tension, drama and sheer delight when things go your way.

A lot of talk this week on social media and in the pubs has focused on how many points will keep us up. Personally, I think 49 will see us solidly safe. I’d snatch your hand off for a point again tomorrow, aiming to win two of our last three home games, with any points on the road at Wolves and Hull on the final day being a bonus. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that last game, though, or the nerves will be in tatters!

Dean Hall

Dean Hall

I think it’s worth noting the exceptional performances of Lee Camp on this unbeaten run of seven games. I mentioned how pivotal it was to have Frecks back fit a month ago . Campy has been superb in producing instinctive, reflex saves to keep us in games at key times, becoming a fans favourite.

If you take a look at him during a game, even when play is up the opposing end of the field, his concentration levels are top-class. Being a goalkeeper can be an extremely draining job in regards to keeping your focus and knowing you need to be ready in a flash to make a save or block, perhaps after a quiet 20-minute spell.

The fact we’re now able to pick out key players from every position, from Camp, the rejuvenation of Greg Halford and the energy of Lee Frecklington to the tenacity of Grant and Danny Ward and the goals of Matt Derbyshire and Leon Best, shows just how much of a team effort it’s taken to turn fortunes around.

Just keep it going, lads, and we’ll see the job through.

Click here for Manager of the Month Neil Warnock