Rotherham United: Kevin Ellison interview

Senior professional Kevin Ellison has cited Millers team-mate Paul Warne as his inspiration to footballing longevity.

The industrious midfielder, 32 at the end of February, insists he has got plenty of miles left in his footballing clock to run – and having come into the professional game relatively late, is eager to play on until well into his 30s and beyond.

He doesn't have to look far in terms of a role model to follow in the shape of Warne, still going strong for the Millers at the tender age of 37, with the fitness fanatic doubling up as the club's fitness coach.

Out of contract along with scores of others at the Don Valley Stadium in the summer, Ellison – who started his career in the non-league backwaters at Welsh outfit Conwy United – is also hoping to do himself a power of good between now and mid-May and is under no illusions about what he needs to do in what is the business end of the season in more ways than one.

The Scouser, who joined the Millers on a two-year-deal from Chester City in May 2009, said: "I plan to play for quite a long time yet, I hope so. To be honest, I think I'm fitter now than I was when I was 21 when I first started as pro.

"I'd like to be like Warney, who is still going and has all the enthusiasm and is still as fit as anybody at the club. He's the benchmark to look at.

"I'm enjoying it at Rotherham and there's a lot of lads playing for their futures, to be honest. Obviously, the more you can play and impress, you know what is around the corner."

After being on the bench for the Millers opening two games of 2011 against Port Vale and Macclesfield Town, Ellison was promoted back to the starting line-up for the see-saw recent 3-3 draw with Stockport County at Edgeley Park and marked his recall by netting his fourth goal

of the campaign.

But after catching the eye against the Hatters, Ellison is the first to admit he – and several other players – had a collective off-day in the lacklustre 2-1 home loss to Southend last Saturday, as Paul Sturrock's Shrimpers claimed a seasonal double over United.

More than a match for any team in League One on their day, a 5-0 home drubbing of Vale and victory over leaders Chesterfield being two cases in point, the Millers have also plumbed the depths on sporadic occasions – often without warning.

And having gained a head of steam by way of an unbeaten eight-match unbeaten streak, the defeat to Southend was both unexpected and a shot across the Millers' bows.

Not for the first time this season, with several lesser lights having abruptly checked Ronnie Moore's troops' momentum, which has becoming a maddening trait for fans, players and management alike.

Ellison, speaking ahead of this weekend's action, said: "The Southend match was really frustrating. I was happy with my performance against Stockport, although I was tired a bit, as I haven't been playing for a couple of months and we haven't been training as we should do because of the weather.

"But I wasn't too happy with my performance on Saturday, so God knows what the gaffer is going to do (this) Saturday."

"Saturday was an atrocious day, but we won't let the weather kid ourselves as the weather was bad for them as well. I just think too many of us had an off-day.

"Because of the way we've been playing, people were expecting stuff. But we're at this level for a reason; we're not consistent enough.

"People say Southend are not one of the strong teams in the league. But on their day, any team can beat anyone in this league.

"There's no easy games. You look at Darlington last year, who were bottom of the league and they came and took points off us home and away.

"We've just got to get our run going again.

"We can't put our finger on why we get the odd bad result for no reason, to be honest. Obviously, at Don Valley, there isn't much of an atmosphere there and there's only one (covered) side to the ground. But we won't use that as an excuse, as the other team has to come here.

"But away from home, we do seem to be better.

"We've got some big games coming up and we do better against the better teams, so maybe these games coming up are a bit of a blessing."

If the Millers are to seal an automatic berth and avoid the play-off lottery, much will depend on the predatory prowess of Adam Le Fondre, with the goal machine having started 2011 with a whimper.

Ahead of this weekend's clash at Wycombe Wanderers, 17-goal Le Fondre hasn't netted in four games since signing off 2010 with the winner against Aldershot on December 12 – a famine by his standards – although Ellison is confident one strike will trigger another goal rush.

Ellison said: "The lads are giving him a bit of stick for not scoring this year. I've got one and Jaybo (Jason Taylor) scored at Macclesfield and he's quite loud and he's given Alfie (Le Fondre) a bit of stick.

"But it's just banter. It hadn't been too bad until Saturday because while he wasn't scoring, other people were and were winning games and getting results.

"We need Alfie back among the goals. He scored 29 last year and we feel he just needs one and he's back firing on all cylinders."

Pontus Jansson heads in the winner against Norwich. PIC: Simon Hulme

Big-match verdict: United’s six-week run reels in the top six