Keane goal gives Town the points
A crowd of close on 21,000 was at Portman Road to see Will Keane mark his home debut with the only goal of the game.
The Hull loanee, one of five new arrivals, pounced from Freddie Sears’ cross on the half hour to grab the all-important goal.
Jon Taylor went close for the visitors, who pushed Town back for long periods in the second-half but Blues held firm to pick up three vital points.
Paul Lambert gave debuts to James Collins and Collin Quaner, with fellow January signings Callum Elder and Keane also in the starting line-up. Cole Skuse returned from injury, with Emyr Huws in the 18 for the first time in more than 13 months.
Blues started brightly with Trevoh Chalobah driving forward, his cross cleared by Joe Mattock, then Quaner close to getting a block on ‘keeper Marek Rodak’s clearance.
Sears was crowded out in the box, Keane setting up Skuse for a 20 yarder that cannoned back off Sean Raggett’s arm and then cleared to safety, Rotherham then having their first foray into Town’s box, Luke Chambers clearing from Michael Smith.
Town got the breakthrough on the half hour, Sears the architect down the left, his cross wasn’t dealt with by the Millers defence and Keane was on hand to hook the ball into the net from close range.
Clark Robertson threatened an immediate response but Collins showed his experience to see out the danger, Taylor volleying over, then Rotherham were forced into a change with the injured Raggett replaced by Ryan Williams.
Collins cleared from Smith, Semi Ajayi heading wide from a free-kick, then Sears went close with a spectacular effort that went just wide at the far post.
Rotherham finished the half with their clearest chance of the opening 45 minutes, Taylor taking the ball on his chest but volleying over from 12 yards.
Gerken kept out a strike from Smith as the second-half got underway, the Town ‘keeper comfortably dealing with Anthony Forde’s cross, then Matt Pennington cleared from Taylor at the far post as the Millers searched for an equaliser.
Gerken beat out Zak Vyner’s 25 yarder, Smith headed over from Anthony Forde’s cross as Rotherham enjoyed their best spell of the game, Smith then sending a curler over the bar.
Flynn Downes replaced Quaner midway through the second-half, Jerry Yates on for Forde in the Millers’ second change.
Jack Lankester showed a lovely touch get away from Vyner, then almost finding Sears with a slick pass before the 18-year-old was replaced by another debutant, Simon Dawkins.
Mattock was off target from the edge of the box, Town then countering at pace with Chalobah and Sears linking up but the pass that would have released Keane was deflected to safety.
Rotherham, who enjoyed the far better off the second-half, kept asking questions of the Town defence, Gerken saving low down from Will Vaulks, then a crazy goalmouth scramble in added on time ended with Collins getting in the way of a goalbound effort to see Blues to victory.
Town: Gerken, Pennington, Chambers, Collins, Elder, Lankester (Dawkins 72), Chalobah, Skuse, Sears (Nsiala 90), Keane, Quaner (Downes 65). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Harrison, Bishop, Huws. Booked: Skuse.
Rotherham: Rodak, Vyner (Wood 88), Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Forde (Yates 69), Taylor, Robertson, Smith, Wiles, Raggett (Williams 37). Subs not used: Price, Palmer, Ihiekwe, Jones. Booked: Vyner.