‘Wrecking Ball’ defender Richard Wood can’t wait to go head to head with table-topping Wigan Athletic as Rotherham United look to take another step towards securing their play-off spot.
The fourth-placed Millers travel to the League One leaders on Saturday and centre-half Wood says it’s just the type of challenge he and his teammates need.
Even though Wigan have hit nine goals in their last two matches, Wood - given his nickname by manager Paul Warne for his brave exploits in the opposition penalty area - is adamant Rotherham won’t be daunted at the DW Stadium.
“It will be good to play Wigan,” he said. “We need to test ourselves against everybody. Wigan are a good side but, after our showing against Fleetwood Town (3-2 win last Saturday), we have nothing to fear.
“We were dominant and caused them all sorts of problems. It should have been a comfortable 3-0 win.
“If we do get into the play-offs, which hopefully we do, we need to go into them on a good run.”
With only five matches of the regular season left, the Millers are six points clear of Plymouth Argyle in fifth position and seven ahead of the next two teams, Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth.
After a run of one win in six games, they recovered their momentum by deservedly beating in-form Fleetwood, with Wood scoring the winner with his second goal in two games.
The ball went in off the skipper’s hip, leading Warne to joke: “That’s good because his feet are horrendous.”
Wood responded: “I would agree with him! I don’t mind. If I stuck one in the top corner from 30 yards, it still goes down as only one goal.
“I’d like to think I am a threat at set-pieces. The manager calls me ‘Wrecking Ball’. I just get stuck in. It was a big test when Fleetwood made it 2-2, but that just shows how good a dressing room we have got. We have some good lads in there and we know we are a good side.”
Fleetwood arrived at AESSEAL New York Stadium after four straight wins and having not conceded in five games, but they were well beaten by Rotherham whose three-goal haul included strikes from a corner and a free-kick.
“We worked on set-pieces during the week,” Warne said. “For us to score off a couple of set-pieces against a really big, strong team is a bit of a joy really.
“Woody epitomises this club. I was going to say he bleeds red, but most people do, don’t they? He puts his heart on his sleeve and he gives his job-lot. I think the fans appreciate that.”
Meanwhile, striker Jamie Proctor, out since cruciate knee ligament surgery in August, remains on target to play again in this campaign.
“He’s ticking along,” Warne said. “We’re aiming for him to play a part before the end of the season. We’re hopeful of that.
“It’s earmarked that he’ll be back in the squad before the play-offs. That’s only if everything goes well. We won’t take a risk at all.”