Rotherham United: How training-ground upgrade is spurring on Millers

Richard Wood scores at Rochdale
Richard Wood scores at Rochdale

Rotherham United’s revamped training facilities are helping them serve up success on the field, according to Millers match-winner Richard Wood.

The club’s Roundwood complex has been transformed by a new structure which houses a large changing room, a gym, physio and video-analysis suites, offices and a communal dining area and kitchen.

Centre-half Wood, who scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory at Rochdale last Saturday, says it is a big factor in Rotherham’s rise to fourth in the League One table after last term’s Championship relegation.

“I think it helps massively,” he said. “Before, we were more separate. We had different changing rooms. We had home and away dressing rooms before. We couldn’t all fit in one. Now it’s a lot better. The dressing room is nice.”

Millers chairman Tony Stewart financed the improvements in the summer, with manager Paul Warne keen to improve team bonding and end the practice of players working out at Roundwood and then driving to AESSEAL New York Stadium for food.

“We didn’t have a canteen. We’d had to travel around,” Wood added. “It was awkward, eating-wise. Now we’re in one facility. We’re all together all the time. Now we’re a unified squad. It’s a lot healthier for us.”

Rotherham, who have won six of their last eight league matches, are at home to eighth-placed Scunthorpe United, and the defender is looking to strike again after opening his 2017/18 account at Spotland.

Warne has nicknamed the 32-year-old ‘Wrecking Ball’ for the way he makes his presence felt at corners and free-kicks in the opposition penalty area.

“I want to get a few more goals,” Wood said. “We look decent at set-pieces. Me, Kieffer (striker Moore) and Mike (central defender Ihiekwe), we’re causing problems for teams. We get a lot of bodies in there, a lot of big, strong lads who are aggressive and want to attack the ball, and it’s paying dividends.

“I try to block Kieffer’s man. I try to get involved and try to get him free, as well as trying to attack it myself. Even if it’s 80:20 in their favour, I’ll just throw myself at it and get in.

“You never know what’s going to happen. A little deflection, a little nudge from me, and who knows? That’s why my nose is like it is! I’m too honest sometimes and throw myself about!”

For the fourth year in a row, Wood wasn’t a first-choice Millers pick at the start of the campaign but has fought his way into favour.

“I want to play every week and I believe I should be,” he said. “It’s all about opinions. I like proving people wrong. I’ve done that for the majority of my career.

“We have a different mentality this seaon. We know we’re a strong side this season. The gaffer has bruought some good players in. We’re athletic. I see us as a top-six side.

“I want to be challenging. We’re more than capable. There are no teams we’ve played so far that I’ve been afraid of.”

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