Millers needing more from Ladapo as Bournemouth head to town


Rotherham United will be hoping that Freddie Ladapo can add to his tally of two goals for the season on Saturday when title challengers AFC Bournemouth travel to South Yorkshire.

The forward, who had never played above League One before this season, scored late on against Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night, but it was not enough to stop the London side winning 3-2.

Ladapo has been a regular starter this season for the Millers. Of their 13 league games he has started eight, and come off the bench in three, missing just two games. Despite only netting two goals so far this campaign Ladapo is now Rotherham’s joint top goalscorer this season.

Paul Warne’s side have lacked a regular goalscorer since their promotion in the summer, and lacked goals in general with just 12 scored in 13 games, but after scoring 17 goals in 39 games in all competitions last season Freddie Ladapo could yet be the answer to the Yorkshire side’s problems.

Two seasons ago Freddie Ladapo became a regular starter in League One at Plymouth Argyle, having barely featured, and not scored, the season before at Southend United. In that season he took his time to find his feet, and in fact in his first 13 league games he had scored just two goals for Argyle, before going on to bag 17 in the remaining 33 games (or 32, as he missed a game).

The gap between League One and the Championship is big, and it seems to widen with every passing season. At 27-years-old Ladapo is a late arrival to the Championship, but he should be in his prime. If he can find his feet and adapt to life in the second tier, he could prove a real asset for the Millers.

If not, Rotherham look like they will struggle for goals this campaign, and will probably be in a relegation fight, unless they manage to bring in a new striker in January who can help turn their fortunes around.

Rotherham currently are hovering above the relegation zone with 12 points from 13 games, putting them just three points above 22nd placed Wycombe Wanderers, meaning they could drop into the bottom three with a defeat on Saturday, although the results needed for that to happen are unlikely as it would require a nine-goal swing.

While the gap between League One and the Championship appears to be increasing, there is no doubt that the gap between the Premier League and the Championship is, as shown by all three relegated clubs all being in contention for promotion despite all losing big names.

One of those clubs is AFC Bournemouth who currently sit in second place and face Rotherham on Saturday. The Cherries travel to Yorkshire having won three games on the bounce, scoring nine goals in the process and conceding three.

David Brooks, Arnaut Danjuma, Dominic Solanke and Junior Stanislas all look to have found form going forwards and with players like Asmir Begovic, Steve Cook, and Chris Mephem, Jason Tindall’s team are also solid at the other end.

A win, or a draw, depending on how Norwich fare against Coventry could take the south coast side top of the league, and it is a game they will be expecting to win given the form Rotherham are in at present.

Warne’s side have won just one of their last five, losing the other four, but also only two of their last 12, after winning on the opening day at Wycombe. Not all 10 of those games have been defeats though, with three draws in the opening six games before their form dropped.

Rotherham’s home form is not particularly impressive with just seven points from six games, but they have won two of their last three home matches. Despite Bournemouth’s lofty position their away from is also not impressive having picked up just nine points from six away games so far, though they did win 3-1 last time out on the road at Birmingham City.

It has been just shy of six years since the two sides last met each other, in a game where Bournemouth won 2-0 at Rotherham in the Championship, at the time that was their second meeting in 15 days having also met in the FA Cup in a game Bournemouth won 5-1.

Bournemouth have won four of the last five meetings between these sides, with the other match finishing level. You would have to go back to January 2009 for the last time Rotherham beat Bournemouth, at a time when both sides were in League Two.

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