Great escape still possible

PUBLISHED: 13:02 29 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:11 14 September 2010

DAVID CUFFLEY

City pair Ian Henderson and Rossi Jarvis are hoping to take starring roles in football's answer to The Great Escape - with their former Carrow Road skipper driving them on.

City pair Ian Henderson and Rossi Jarvis are hoping to take starring roles in football's answer to The Great Escape - with their former Carrow Road skipper driving them on.

Craig Fleming is clinging to the hope that Rotherham United can still avoid relegation from Coca-Cola League One, with the “Norwich union” playing a major part.

And Fleming hailed the contribution of the Canary connection to his new club's determined bid to avoid the drop, with special praise for on-loan pair Henderson and Jarvis, sent north by manager Peter Grant to get a taste of regular first-team football.

The Millers have won three of their last five Coca-Cola League One matches with former Norwich striker Mark Robins in charge after the sacking of Alan Knill, but they are still seven points adrift of fifth-from-bottom Bradford City with seven matches to play.

Tuesday night's 1-0 home win over promotion-chasing Blackpool, courtesy of a second-half goal by Chris O'Grady, took Rotherham off the bottom of the table.

In their line-up against Blackpool were two ex-Canaries in Fleming and defender Che Wilson, on loan from Southend to the end of the season, plus Henderson and Jarvis.

Former City club captain Fleming, 35, who moved to Millmoor on an 18-month contract during the January transfer window, said he had been impressed with Henderson, who has now played 11 times for Rotherham.

“They've all done very well. Hendo has enjoyed playing competitive games and has looked a threat. He created the winner for us against Blackpool,” said Fleming.

“And Rossi has added that little bit of grit and steel and also that bit of quality, too.

“Che Wilson is here, too. They call us the Norwich union because we've got quite a few generations of Norwich players here.”

Fleming admitted that after nearly 10 years at Norwich, it had helped to be surrounded by familiar faces after returning to his native Yorkshire and dropping a division.

He and Robins were not at Carrow Road together, but know each other of old.

Said Fleming: “Mark's been at the club for a while, so there have not been massive changes. But he does things his way as most managers do. I know him quite well, because I've played against him for years.

“It was looking quite bleak at one point. We had a few injuries but we've won three out of five since Robbo's taken charge.

“It's still a long shot but we've got a chance. The really big one is Bournemouth at home on Saturday. Win that and we could be right in among them.

“Bournemouth will be here with Charmer (Rob Newman) and Kevin Bond in charge, so it will be like a Norwich reunion.”

Rotherham have battled all season against a 10-point penalty after creditors agreed to a Company Voluntary Agreement which saved the club from going under. The club could have faced liquidation if an agreement had not been reached, but the extra 10 points would have put them clear of the relegation places going into the final month.

Said Fleming: “The thing that's counted against us has been the 10-point deduction. So it's us against the world but I think we've got a chance. Saturday is a vital game for us.”

The win over Blackpool followed victories over Bradford City and Brentford under Robins. With Bournemouth next, facing another B-team could be a good omen.

“Our run-in is tough, actually,” said Fleming. “We're playing a lot of the top sides - Nottingham Forest, Yeovil and Bristol City.

“But you never know. We played at Scunthorpe who are top of the league and lost 1-0, but we had a goal disallowed, hammered them in the second half, had a penalty saved, hit the crossbar and hit the post.

“It's like the Championship, really. Anybody in this division can give anybody a game, you just need that little bit of consistency.

“Having spoken to a couple of lads at Norwich, they said Blackpool were a decent side when they played them in the FA Cup, but it was a good win.

“We have such a young squad. We played against Crewe on Saturday and the midfield four were 17, 17, 19 and 18. It's tough for them but we've got a lot of good prospects.”

Fleming admitted it had taken time to adjust to life with Rotherham.

He said: “It's been difficult, as it is for most players when they leave Norwich. You get used to the facilities at Colney and being looked after so well, but winning games helps.”

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