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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 08:23 GMT
Knill wants more fighting spirit
By Chris Bevan

Rotherham manager Alan Knill
New Rotherham manager Alan Knill wants his side to continue to scrap for survival at the bottom of League One.

Knill, who took charge on a permanent basis on Tuesday, feels the Millers must stick with the battling approach they had while he was caretaker boss.

He told BBC Sport: "Since I took over the players have been really committed.

"And the fans have appreciated what is happening too. They are clapping us off whatever happens and recognise we are moving in the right direction."

Knill - a former Wales international centre-back - ended his playing career with Rotherham in 1999 before coaching the club's youth team under Ronnie Moore.

He had a stint as caretaker manager at the end of last season following Moore's departure to Oldham in January, before becoming Mick Harford's assistant.

The pair started the season well but Harford was sacked on 10 December last year after a run of 17 League and cup games without a win.

Knill feels his side have already turned the corner from that desperate run - they picked up seven points from five games while he was in temporary charge - but he is still looking for further improvement.

I learned a lot last time and the experience was good for me. When the board asked me if I wanted the job again, I was happy to accept
Alan Knill

"I was disappointed for how things worked out for Mick," Knill added. "I thought he was a really good coach - and he is going to be again in the future.

"No team that beat us then really hammered us. We were playing well but not getting what we deserved.

"I do not know what was behind that run - apart from maybe a lack of concentration. We were making silly mistakes and needed to stop, so that is what I tried to do.

"Morale was low but we were not playing badly - we just needed a win to get our belief back.

"And we have changed all that recently. We have played well in our last few games and got some good results."

Knill did not have much success when he succeeded Moore this time last year - winning just two more games all season as the club was relegated from the Championship.

But he feels his management skills have improved since then and is confident the Millers will not drop a division for the second successive year.

"I learned a lot last time and the experience was good for me," he added. "When the board asked me if I wanted the job again, I was happy to accept it."

Now Knill is looking for his side to climb out of the relegation zone but after losing star striker Deon Burton to Sheffield Wednesday for 110,000, he realises he needs reinforcements.

"The board have said I can get some loan players in," he added. "Our side is pretty depleted at the moment and we only have a small squad.

"We are looking about and we will be asking clubs about players soon.

"Deon is a great lad and had scored 14 goals for us - but when you have a player who is doing well you know other clubs will be looking at him. Wednesday made a bid and the board accepted it.

"It is unfortunate to lose him but it gives other players a chance.

"We have a young striker called Will Hoskins who has done welll for us in the last two games.

"And that is how football works - as the door closes on one player, it opens for another - and you have to take your chance."


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