Rotherham United have been taking no chances with Kieffer Moore as they look to keep the six-goal hitman in their starting line-up.
The striker, suffering with a tight groin, played through the pain barrier in last weekend’s League One Yorkshire derby at Bradford City.
And the ninth-placed Millers have adopted a softly-softly approach this week to guarantee his availability for tomorrow’s home clash against bottom club Oldham Athletic.
“We’ve managed him,” boss Paul Warne said. “We’ve wrapped him in cotton wool and bubble-wrap this week. He’s trained today but that’s the only day he’s trained.
“I wouldn’t say he’s completely over his tight groin. With the games coming thick and fast, Saturday-Tuesday, we need to keep his grass-time down to make sure he can play.”
The Millers are low on strikers, with Jamie Proctor a long-term absentee after cruciate knee ligament surgery and David Ball missing through illness and a hamstring strain.
Rotherham have won three of their four league matches at AESSEAL New York Stadium this season, scoring 13 goals in the process, but Warne has warned that John Sheridan’s Latics are an improving side.
They lost at home 2-1 to league leaders Shrewsbury last weekend and Warne has spoken this week with Shrews boss and former Millers teammate Paul Hurst about the threat they pose.
Loan goalkeeper Marek Radak will make his fourth Millers appearance tomorrow and Warne, whose side have won three of their last four matches, is hoping the 20-year-old has another quiet afternoon.
“In fairness to him, he’s not had a great deal to so far,” the manager said. “I hope he comes in and never touches the ball. That would be ace for me. I think what he’s had to do, he’s done pretty well.
“I don’t blame him for any of the goals he’s conceded, which is a good thing. Most non-goalkeeping people love hammering goalkeepers, me included!
“His distrubution is really good and I think the more games he plays, the more confident he will get. He’s been a good addition to the group.”
Proctor had an operation this week and there was less work to do on his knee than surgeons first thought. That won’t affect the length of time he is on the sidelines but it does give him a better chance of making a complete recovery.
Meanwhile, Warne says striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, who complained he’d been racially abused in the aftermath of last Saturday’s Bantams clash, hasn’t let the incident at Valley Parade affect him.
“He has been fine,” he said. “I know that Bradford are doing everything they can to deal with whoever said it. I know that Jono will be part of the investigation.
“I had their stadium manager speak to me about it. He is asked if Jono was willing to make a statement, and he is. That’s great because you want to eradicate that from football. It was pretty disgusting.
“Jono played in the ‘ressies’ on Tuesday (4-0 win at Doncaster Rovers). He played well, scored a goal and worked really hard.”