City travel to the New York stadium knowing a victory will see them further clear of at least one of their promotion rivals, regardless of the result of their head-to-head beforehand. Jon Punt spoke to Rotherham fan Josh Yeardley to find out what Norwich can expect on Saturday…
Jon: With Rotherham's first Championship away win in 2,378 attempts (I may be exaggerating this) coming midweek at Loftus Road, is their renewed hope in the Millers' ranks that you could pull clear of the relegation scrap? It seems like your form is actually OK, but the story of your season has been not converting draws into victories?
Josh: Definitely, I think that win last night should have galvanised the team and will hopefully spur them on to pick up points against the likes of Derby and Norwich. It was incredibly important that we got the win last night, especially with Millwall winning and with Wigan and Reading also losing on Tuesday. It’s still going to be really difficult, but we'll definitely give it a right go - this team will continue to fight and battle on.
I also believe the teams above us should definitely be worried about us, I'd definitely back us to stay up and I've said that all season, we may lack quality, but our fight and spirit would be enough to see us over the line.
Regarding draws, it has been the story of our season so far but against Blackburn and QPR we've not let our head drop when we've conceded, we've remained positive and smelt blood and we've taken advantage of that.
I might be wrong, but results wise it seems like you do relatively well against the mid table sides and those around you, but that the teams at the top end of the table just have a bit too much quality on most occasions. Is that a fair assessment? Being workmanlike and organised will get you so far but class will tell the higher you go up?
We do normally tend to raise our game even more when we play the top 6 sides but you're right about quality wise, I believe we've only picked up 5 points from the teams in the top 6 (3 against Derby, 1 against Sheffield United and 1 against Middlesbrough).
Containing and stopping players such as Teemu Pukki and Hernandez for 90+ minutes will be incredibly difficult considering we have Joe Mattock (our left back) out through suspension and potentially Clark Robertson (our best centre back) out through injury it could be difficult but I'm sure whoever Paul Warne picks in defence they'll be up for the challenge. Getting past our Nigerian Prince Semi Ajayi (a centre back playing defensive midfield) could prove a challenge for your creative midfielder but I'm sure they'll definitely give him a tough afternoon.
Our offensive trio in behind Pukki of Buendia, Hernandez and Stiepermann is the main reason we’re top of the tree. Some of their interchanging and fluid football has been a joy to watch (see Buendia’s sexual mid-air back heel on Wednesday for the most recent example.) If you’re playing a reserve left back, plus we have the league’s best attacking full back bombing on I’d say that’s a major source of concern for you.
I think given City have been prone to defensive lapses of late we’re guaranteed to see goals – what do Norwich have to fear from Rotherham? Quick strikers closing down Krul when he’s in possession seems to be the recently fashionable, and some would say most successful, way of getting at us. If you want to keep on trend you’ll need a speed merchant or two up top.
We will probably play Billy Jones at left back, he's naturally a right back but can play anywhere across the back line really. If we are going to score it will probably be from a set piece, we are very strong from corners, free kicks and long throws and our current danger man Semi Ajayi is a major threat from long throws, we don't have a quick striker and our main striker Michael Smith is currently playing with a broken toe although he's not really let him affect him. He's not a major goal threat but he knows how to cause defences problems, his last goal came on New Year’s Day so I'd be surprised if he scored but I'm hoping he does. That said, I don't care who scores as long as we pick up points.
Can we just agree now that you’ll pick up points AFTER Saturday? Great, thanks.
System wise, how are your boys likely to line up on Saturday? It’ll be a 4-2-3-1 for Norwich, I could tell you the starting line-up now, it’ll be exactly the same as the previous four or five games.
I'd be extremely happy with a point as long as Reading and Wigan don't win but I always back us to get a result at home. Out of our remaining fixtures Norwich and Aston Villa are the only teams that worry me because of the quality both sides have especially in midfield and in the attacking areas.
We will probably line up with a 4-1-4-1. We have Will Vaulks and Joe Mattock out due to suspension and Clark Robertson is also a doubt, he missed last night’s game after picking up an injury against the Blades so if he isn't fit I believe our starting line-up will be; Rodak, Vyner, Ihiekwe, Wood(c), Jones, Ajayi, Taylor, Wiles, Crooks, Williams, Smith.
Changing the subject a bit, how did Sean Raggett do? I see he’s returned to us after injury, is he ever going to make it in a ball playing, free flowing side like Norwich? He strikes me as more of a traditional stopper.
After we last spoke he returned from injury and played four games before getting injured against Ipswich after being elbowed which resulted in him losing a tooth. He then went on to make one last appearance against Leeds before getting injured again.
Whenever he played he looked a very solid, no-nonsense defender but injuries sadly ruined his season which is a shame because I rated him highly. I wouldn't say we have missed him due to the form of Michael Ihiekwe and Clark Robertson but I'd be very happy if Warne tried to bring him back again due to him being a Rotherham type defender.
One thing is for sure, he definitely won't be getting in the Norwich side anytime soon so I could see him leaving you lot permanently in the summer.
You can have him them. Make us an offer. Stuart Webber will then make you double it.
So, specific prediction time then. I’m going 4-1 Norwich, Buendia opens the scoring on 17, Stiepermann doubles the lead before Ben Godfrey scores from a corner just before the break. You rally in the second half and grab a goal, then Pukki seals the three points with ten minutes remaining. You?
Only way we'd get Sean Raggett permanently is if you released him or if you only wanted between £50k and £200k. It's safe to say we don't have much money.
It's going to be an incredibly difficult game, Norwich are in unbelievable form and I think they'll be crowned Champions come the end of the season but with us being at home and fighting for our lives I've got to back us to get a result and the result Wednesday will have given the team and the fans a boost.
My head says 2-2 but my heart says 2-1 Rotherham so I'm going to go with my heart and say 2-1 to us. Semi Ajayi and Jon Taylor to score for us and either Pukki or Buendia to score for you guys.