Boss Kenny Jackett is calling on his team to “come out fighting” as Rotherham United look to avoid another low in their season of struggle.
The Millers face a Yorkshire derby against Leeds United on Saturday and failure to win would see them equal the 2006/07 mark of 14 consecutive league matches without a victory.
Jackett’s men head into the televised New York Stadium showdown in bottom spot in the Championship and with the worst defensive record in the division, having conceded 41 goals in 17 league matches.
“We have to keep working,” said Jackett, four matches into his reign after taking over from Alan Stubbs who paid the price for taking the club to the foot of the table.
“Our aim is to improve. The table doesn’t look good, the ‘goals against’ doesn’t look good. We have to come out fighting and battling.
“I am looking for a Rotherham side that can hold its own in the Championship and at the moment the league table says it is difficult to do that.”
The Millers were beaten 3-0 at Derby County in their last outing and Jackett is aware of the need to keep up players’ spirits.
“It’s something we have to work at,” he said. “We have to work very hard, talk to the players about how they want to fight, how they want to go forward.”
The last time Rotherham suffered 14 straight winless matches Alan Knill was in charge and the club were relegated from League One that season.
The run began with a 1-1 draw at home to Bristol City on December 9 2006 and ended with a 4-1 home triumph over Bradford City on March 3 2007 in Mark Robins’ first match in the hot-seat following Knill’s exit.
Jackett is trying to reduce an 11-point gap between his team and safety before getting to work in the January transfer window in his bid to make the Millers more competitive in the second tier.
“You are always looking at the opposition to try to work out a way to play on the day. That is one thing,” he said.
“But, overall, your club has to be good enough week in, week out to put in performances to compete at the level you are at.”