Rotherham United: All’s not right in defence for Millers

Frazer Richardson leaves the field at Fulham
Frazer Richardson leaves the field at Fulham

Boss Neil Redfearn could face a defensive selection headache as Rotherham look to bounce back from their defeat at Fulham,

The Millers travel to Preston on Saturday looking to consolidate their place above the bottom three in the Championship.

But they could be without all three of the players whose main position is right-back.

Stephen Kelly is nursing a calf strain and may not be ready, Lewis Buxton has a “contractual issue” with the club and Frazer Richardson had to leave the field at Craven Cottage on Tuesday after the third Fulham goal in Rotherham’s 4-1 loss.

“Frazer has had a bad collision with Campy (goalkeeper Lee Camp),” Redfearn said. “We thought it might be a little bit of concussion but I don’t think it’s as bad as we first feared.

“Kelly is hopefully somebody who will come into contention for Saturday. He’s a player who’s done well for us and has been part of clean sheets. We’ve missed him.”

Neil Redfearn

Neil Redfearn

The club aren’t commenting on Buxton’s situation, but it is thought the issue involves wages and length of contract.

“That’s something for the club to address, for Lewis and the club to sort out between them,” Redfearn said. “I’ve just got to concentrate on the lads that I’ve got in front of me.”

Rotherham are looking to strengthen their defence in the January transfer window.

The Millers created plenty of chances against the Cottagers but, after keeping clean sheets in their previous two matches, were undone by the pace and trickery of the home side’s attack in which Ross McCormack stood out.

Redfearn thought his side looked tired after their exploits in their 4-0 victory over Bolton three days earlier and says they have to put the setback behind them to focus all their attention on the Deepdale clash.

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“I can’t criticise the effort of the lads. We’ve got to move on,” he said. “We’ve got to keep putting little runs together. We can’t dwell on things now. It’s a tough league. We’ve got to make sure the lads are ready now for Preston.

“We’ve been scoring goals and we had chances against Fulham. The frustrating thing for me is conceding four. The lads know we’ve got to do more in keeping the back doors shut. It’s important we protect our goal difference.

“We’ve got to put them back together. We’ve got to come out with our chests puffed up. We’ve got to get enough points to stay in this division.”

When asked about the prospects of signing Tunisian defender Aymen Belaid, Redfearn said: “We’ve done some work. That will manifest itself in January.”