Rotherham United ... Smallwood: ‘I’d love to stay with Millers’

Richie Smallwood
Richie Smallwood

Rotherham United midfield man Richie Smallwood is focusing all his efforts between now and the end of the season on earning himself a new Millers contract.

The 26-year-old, whose deal expires in the summer, was named man of the match after Good Friday’s 1-1 Championship home draw with Birmingham City.

And he is determined to take that good form into tomorrow’s clash at high-flying Reading as he bids to convince boss Paul Warne that he is worth keeping at New York Stadium.

“I’d love to stay,” he said. “I’m trying to do my talking on the pitch. In this business, it’s the only way you’re going to get noticed and get another club or get the chance to stay here.

“If you sulk and don’t have a good attitude, you won’t get anywhere.”

Smallwood is one of several players who will soon be out of contract and Warne, named permanent manager last week after a spell in caretaker charge, has admittted he is “on the fence” in a couple of cases as he decides whether to offer any of them fresh terms.

The midfielder played a key role in Rotherham’s 2014 promotion from League One and was Player of the Year in their first season back in the second tier.

The Millers, who are already relegated and will play in League One next year, ended a run of 10 successive defeats as they came from behind to earn a pount against the Blues through centre-forward Danny Ward’s 85th-minute equaliser.

But substitute striker Jerry Yates was left holding his head in his hands deep into time added on when he blazed a golden chance to hit the winner over the bar.

Smallwood revealed that Yates’ teammates had gone easy on the youngster, 20, after the match.

“We’ve just offered encouragement,” he said. “I know he’s missed a chance, and it’s a big chance, but everyone misses chances. He’s young, but he’s getting better. His game has improved so much.

“Hopefully, he will get another chance to put this one to bed. At least he was in the right position. That’s better than being lazy and not being there. I think he just took it too early. With a bit more experience, he takes a touch and knocks it in.”

Rotherham head to the Madejski Stadium to face the promotion-chasing Royals buoyed by stopping the rot against Gianfranco Zola’s side.

“The point is quite big,” Samallwood added. “I know we drew, but it feels a bit like a win. We know Reading are a good side and it’s going to be hard.

“It’s a big pitch. They’re a good footballing side and they’re challenging for the big prize.”

Reading are in fourth place and have won four of their last five games, including beating Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park yesterday.

But Smallwood said: “We’ll go there and try to get a win.”