Rotherham United: 24-hour boost for Millers

Lee Frecklington, back, is available again
Lee Frecklington, back, is available again

Rotherham United are banking on an extra day’s preparation helping their slimmed-down squad step up their Championship survival fight at Nottingham Forest tonight.

The Millers make the short trip to the City Ground tonight, 24 hours after their rivals for safety were in action.

And following the frustrating 2-1 home loss to third-from-bottom Wigan on Saturday, assistant manager Paul Raynor believes that could be a good thing.

“We haven’t been able to rotate our players much because we have a small squad,” the Rotherham No 2 said.

“When teams are doing it higher up, they’re bringing in like for like players. We’ve not got the nucleus of 25 proper Championship footballers. We just haven’t. We’ve not got a big squad.”

The Millers have yet to earn a point on their midweek travels this season but remain out of the drop zone.

“Sometimes we find our performances just dip a little bit in midweek because of the energy levels and the way we play the game,” Raynor said.

“We’re not a team that parks the bus and sits there. We put a lot of energy into our performances.

“We play with a high tempo, we play a pressing game, and that does take a lot out of the boys at times.

“It’s hopefully a positive that we play on a Wednesday as opposed to a Tuesday. It could be crucial in helping to recharge the batteries.”

Boss Steve Evans has trimmed the number of names at his disposal but has plenty of options tonight with players returning from injury and suspension.

Skipper and centre-half Craig Morgan had trained only twice last week and was on the bench against the Latics while central midfielder Lee Frecklington missed out as he served a one-match ban.

But both are in the frame tonight, along with attacker Danny Ward who returned to full training yesterday 10 days after hurting his foot.

Raynor added: “Craig trained over the weekend, he’ll have trained on Monday and Tuesday ahead of Forest, so he’ll be a lot further down the line in terms of being fully fit.”

For the last two matches Evans has paired loan teenager Farrend Rawson wth Kirk Broadfoot and the duo haven’t conceded a goal in open play.

“Kirk did very well at Huddersfield (2-0 Millers win), young Rawson came in at Huddersfield and was outstanding,” Raynor said.

“We felt no need to change it, particularly when Craig had had only a couple of days training. Saturday’s game probably came a couple of days too early for him.

“It’s good to have Freck back.He’s a big player for us and has been for 18 months. He’s a big character in the dressing room. He was disappointed to miss out on Saturday and we missed him. We missed his goal threat.”

Rotherham travel to Forest, who still harbour hopes of making the play-offs, relishing the six-week run-in which will decide their fate.

“It’s come down now to nine important games,” Raynor said.

“Next is Nottingham Forest away and then a South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship. It’s a fantastic period, one we’re enjoying.

“We want more of it. To get more of it we need to put in a solid run of form between now and the end of the season. We’re confident of doing that.

“We’re going to Nottingham Forest and we’re certainly not going to sit there and wait to get beaten.

“We are going to go there expecting to get a result.”

Raynor said the Millers were still looking at players ahead of the loan window closing a week on Thursday and revealed right-back Richard Brindley could be heading out again.

“He wants to play games and we admire him for that,” he said.