Rotherham United: Why Darren Potter has to be careful on his Millers comeback

Darren Potter
Darren Potter

Key man Darren Potter returns from injury this week walking a disciplinary tightrope for Rotherham United.

The midfielder is back in the first-team fold for Saturday’s home League One clash with Gillingham after missing three matches with a sore heel.

But the summer signing, who has been instrumental in the Millers’ climb into the play-off places, will have to tread carefully as he’s been booked four times already this season.

If his name goes into the referee’s notebook again, he will receive a one-match ban.

Eleven-goal striker Kieffer Moore, centre-half Michael Ihiekwe and left-back Joe Mattock are also on four yellow cards.

Potter is expected to come straight back into the side in a holding role for the Gills clash and Rotherham are hoping captain and fellow midfielder Lee Frecklington will also be available after a back problem.

Kieffer Moore

Kieffer Moore

It would increase the competition for places, but that has been welcomed by Joe Newell, a scorer in his last two outings and a contender for a midfield berth after impressing as a starter at Oxford United last week following spells injured and as a substitute.

“It will be good if they’re back. They’re two of our leaders,” he said. The gaffer made a few changes at Oxford and we got a result (3-3 draw after being 3-1 down).

“There are no mardy faces. There’s no ill feeling towards anyone when you’re on the bench. I’ve been there a few times this season. I hate not playing, but you still wish everyone well. It shows the spirit and strength of the squad.”

Newell has been in and out of the side because of his inconsistency, but Warne describes him as the most talented player at his disposal.

Michael Ihiekwe

Michael Ihiekwe

“Of course I agree with him! I’m joking, I’m joking ... It’s nice when he says stuff like that,” said the 24-year-old.

“Me and the gaffer get on really well. It’s a great compliment to have from him, especially with the quality of the players we brought in over the summer.

“It’s pointless him saying that if I don’t perform on matchday, though. I agree I need to do it more often. I haven’t really managed to get a run of games going this season. Hopefully now I can stay fit, stay in the team and reap the rewards.

“I’m trying to grab the chance with both hands. I’ve found it hard to get my season going. Early on, I played but I had one bad game and was out of the side. Then we won at Portsmouth and won three on the bounce, so I was on the bench.

Joe Newell

Joe Newell

“At Rochdale (October 7), I was injured the day before the game when I was due to start. Hopefully, I can get a run of games now and kick-start my season.

“I need to keep up my consistency. I train as hard as I can in midweek. I’m looking after my body better than I have done previously. That’s part of being a professional and growing up.”

Newell has scored three times this campaign and, while he hasn’t set a specific goal target, family pride is at stake.

“I’ve got a bet with my brother,” he revealed. “That’s to do with golf clubs! He did me last year. My mighty total of two didn’t do me any good. It’s good to score. It gives you confidence.”

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