ROTHERHAM United are resigned to being without Joe Mattock this weekend after the defender admitted that his back injury has left him feeling "rubbish".
The left-back has been sidelined for a fortnight after limping out of the 3-0 League One win at Gillingham and didn't hide from the truth when manager Paul Warne caught up with him earlier this week.
"I saw him on Tuesday, said Warne whose side could climb into the play-off places if they win at home to Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
"As you always do as a manager, you ask how an injured player how he's feeling. They always lie to you and say: 'Yeah, I'm feeling a bit better, Gaffer.'
"I asked Joe on Tuesday and he said: 'Rubbish, Gaffer.' He didn't even try to put a bit of sugar on it. When a player tells you they're feeling rubbish that ain't a good sign.
"Today (Thursday) he says he feels a little bit better. But 'a little bit better' doesn't mean he's training. He won't be available."
The Millers will add Clark Robertson to their squad as long as the centre-half reports no adverse reaction to his first appearance in a month, at Lincoln City in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday, following a groin problem.
But Trevor Clarke, who would have been the likely replacement for Mattock, is missing and the game will come too soon for striker Kyle Vassell who is on the recovery trail after groin and calf issues.
Warne wants his side to replicate their away form, which has seen them win five and draw one of their eight league matches on the road, at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
"We've been good away from home and now we need to put on a performance at New York and get three more points," the boss said.
"Until this season, New York has been a good place for us to play at. I want us to turn up and put on a performance that makes the fans proud.
"Every team wants their home ground to be a fortress. Unfortunately, most of our best performances so far have been away.
"I'm not too bothered as long as we accumulate the points but, obviously, I'd rather get three points in front of 8,000/9,000 home fans than in front of 400 away ones.
"We've had a couple of decent home performances but it's fair to say we haven't been fully at our best at New York.
"Every game is a different test. Accrington have beaten leaders Ipswich Town and drawn away at Coventry City. They're a really good footballing side and they work tirelessy out of possession.
"They play 4-4-2 which is quite uncommon in this division. They're a threat at set-pieces and will be a real test for us."
Meanwhile, there is a possibility that Vassell will return to group training before the weekend.
"He's been doing his last little bits with the physios," Warne said. "I'm hopeful that he will join in today or tomorrow. He's been out for a long time now. I've missed him.
"He needs to get a reserves game under his belt. He's close to being fit enough to commence training but nowhere near match-fit. There's no chance of him even making the bench against Accrington."
Midfielder Shaun MacDonald, laid low by a virus, is expected back at the club's Roundwood training ground next week.
The Millers' FA Cup second-round tie at National League Solihull Moor will be played on Monday December 2 and shown live on BT Sports.
INTERNATIONAL prospect Trevor Clarke has been grounded by the results of a scan.
The Rotherham United player was called up by the Republic of Ireland for European Under-21 Championship qualifiying games against Armenia and Sweden.
But tests on an ankle injury showed that the young left-back/winger wasn't fit enough to fly out and be part of the Republic squad.
"The decision was taken that he would stay here," Millers manager Paul Warne said.
The Republic, who played in Armenia today, haven't closed the door on Clarke who damaged his ankle in Rotherham's 3-0 League One win at Gillingham two weeks ago.
"They are still hopeful that he will join up at the weekend and play in their home game on Tuesday," Warne said. "Sometimes 24 or 48 hours can make a big difference and you're a lot better.
"I think initially Trev was really optimistic that he would be able to join up with the squad but he's had a bit of a reality check."