New Rotherham United manager Neil Redfearn is holding out hope that Joe Newell will recover from injury in time for Tuesday night’s home clash with Reading.
The midfielder missed Redfearn’s first match in charge, at Brentford, still feeling the affects of a kick he received against Burnley a fortnight earlier.
After the 2-1 defeat at Griffin Park, the Millers boss said: “We’ll have to see for Tuesday. Perhaps. He might be okay. We’ll just have to see how he comes through. We’ll assess the lads tomorrow.
“He had a kick in the previous game, but it was a bad kick. I think it’s been difficult for him to run on and obviously we’ve got to make sure that he’s right, that he feels confident with it. I don’t think that that’s the case at the moment.
With Tuesday’s match against the high-flying Royals looming, the players reported for a Sunday session, and Newell was being checked along with other injury victims Danny Ward and Joe Mattock.
Ward limped out of the warm-up at Brentford with a back problem, after being selected to start, while goalscorer Joe Mattock hurt his shoulder late in the second half.
“Danny’s back spasm-ed up in the warm-up, which is obviously a bit of a concern,” Redfearn added. “He got to the point where he was struggling to walk, never mind run.
“And then Joe Mattock went over on his shoulder and felt it pop a little bit, he said. That’s a worry because Joe is a player who’s important to us.
“It’s a bit early to say on Joe. We’ve got to let it settle down. We’ll get the lads in and assess them, see how far they are. If he feels he can play, we’ll obviously consider him.
“But we’re mindful of the fact there are a lot of games coming up and there is a lot of football to play.”
Redfearn, who chose to start with Paul Green and Chris Maguire at Brentford in place of Tony Andreu and Grant Ward, thought the Millers were worth at least a point for their efforts.
“It’s going to take time, but I’m pleased with how we applied ourselves,” he said. “On the balance of play, we deserved something.
“The players are a bit down because they set themselves up to go and get a result. But, for me, the performance was encouraging.
“We’ve got spirit and we’ve got drive. But we’ve got to find a way of playing that suits us. I’ve got to look at everything, and this is what I’m doing.
“I’m pleased that we locked horns with Brentford and were always in the game. At no point was the game going to run away from us.”
Maguire almost scored in the first half while Green nearly bagged a second-half equaliser in only his second start of the Championship campaign.
“They give us something different. I wanted to match Brentford in wide areas,” Redfearn revealed.
“I wanted to try to play between the lines because I thought that was an area where we could really go and test them. And at times we did. I thought we could have done it more.
“When we actually got the ball down and passed it, we looked quite measured.”