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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 12:34 GMT
Trouble at Millmoor
By Mark Mitchener
BBC Sport at Millmoor

Colin Murdock
Murdock led Rotherham to their first win of 2006 on Tuesday

Captain Colin Murdock hopes that Rotherham's win over Bournemouth on Tuesday can serve notice of their intentions to keep battling - on and off the field.

The Millers are embroiled in a second successive relegation battle, but have now collected their first win of 2006.

However, of more concern to the Millmoor faithful has been chairman Peter Ruchniewicz's announcement last Thursday that the club could fold within weeks if 1m is not raised.

With the ground looking like a building site while construction work continues on the new main stand, which has fewer than half of its seats installed, there has been little to cheer about in the last week.

"It's a difficult situation to be in. It's nothing I've ever experienced in my career," Murdock told BBC Sport.

"It's not just the playing staff that have found their positions in jeopardy, it's the non-playing staff at the club as well.

"But it's beyond our control - there's nothing we can do about it. Hopefully the club can manage to find the resources to keep things going."

Despite reaching the heights of the Championship under former boss Ronnie Moore, relegation last season and more struggles this term - which saw Moore's replacement Mick Harford axed in December - have seen Rotherham resume their role as the poor relations of South Yorkshire.

Fans might well look on enviously at the comparative wealth of both Sheffield clubs, or even at League One neighbours Doncaster, who like Huddersfield and Hull are soon to move into a brand new stadium, funded by the local council.

But Murdock has been cheered by the helpful response that other League clubs and fans have made to the Millers' plight.

GOOD NEIGHBOURS
Barnsley have written off all money owing to them over Barry Conlon's loan move to Rotherham in the autumn, and also sent a cheque for 5,000
Sheffield United are paying the wages of loan players Stephen Quinn and Jonathan Forte during their loan spells at Millmoor, and are also donating all profits from their beam-back of this week's Sheffield derby to Save The Millers
Sheffield Wednesday are to hold bucket collections at two games, including the derby with United
"Rotherham have been in the League for a long time now, and I think it would be a bit remiss of clubs if they weren't to help us out in this situation," he said.

"Perhaps sometime in the future, when the shoe's on the other foot, this club or people connected with it may be able to reciprocate or help others out when they need it."

Rotherham still face a tough few weeks on and off the field, but with boss Alan Knill keen to concentrate his players' minds on avoiding the drop into the basement division, Tuesday's win has come just at the right time for Murdock.

"It's been a long time in coming, to be frank," the Northern Ireland international said.

"I think we've played superbly well in some games over the last few months, but picked up a lot of draws and not too many wins, which has contributed to the position we find ourselves in.

"But we totally dominated Bournemouth, could have won the game 4-0 or 5-0, and the fact we missed two penalties meant the score didn't really reflect the performance.

"Even at Southend last week, we had most of the play in that game. Hopefully this result will kick-start us for the rest of the season."

With five points separating 13 teams in the bottom half of the table, Murdock echoes the view put forward by many League One players and managers that the division is the most open it has been for years - with any team capable of beating any other.

Millmoor's new main stand, pictured in December 2005
The new main stand has been under construction this season
"There's not been one team that's stood out for me. We've rued games this season that we've lost by one goal, but hopefully we can put a run together now," he said.

"Bournemouth are in mid-table with 40 points, but if we win on Saturday and they don't, suddenly teams like that will be looking over their shoulders at us."

Tuesday's attendance of 4,498 was below Rotherham's average 2005/06 gate figure of 4,956 - although a cold Valentine's Day evening is unlikely to be a valid indicator.

Knill hopes the fans can turn out in force, both at games and fundraising meetings, to keep the club going, and said: "The shout has gone out - 'Come and help us'.

"Everything has been doom and gloom for most of the week, but it's our job to lift that, and there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Murdock added: "We know the other things are out of our control, so we're just going to go to Swindon on Saturday and hope we can get three points."




SEE ALSO
Rotherham facing uncertain future
09 Feb 06 |  Rotherham Utd
Rotherham 2-0 Bournemouth
14 Feb 06 |  League One


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