Michael Ihiekwe injury adds to defensive headaches for Rotherham United

Michael Ihiekwe injury adds to defensive headaches for Rotherham United

By David Beddows | 09/03/2020

Michael Ihiekwe injury adds to defensive headaches for Rotherham United
Millers boss Paul Warne and opposite number Brian Barry-Murphy at Rochdale on Saturday.


ROTHERHAM United will have to continue their League One promotion push with depleted defensive numbers and the absence of key back line man Michael Ihiekwe.

The Player of the Year contender injured his knee in training and had to watch Saturday's 3-1 defeat at strugglers Rochdale from the stand.

His stand-in, Curtis Tilt, has been called up by Jamaica and although the exact timescale of his absence is still to be confirmed, manager Paul Warne will have to make more defensive changes with nine games to go.

"Michael pulled out of training on Thursday," said Warne. "He has torn a few fibres on the outside of his knee and he could be out for four, five or six weeks. It's not good, it is hugely disappointing. 

"Missing Curtis as well, we may have to push Adam Thompson to centre-half but I quite like Thommo at right-back. 

"We are also missing Dan Barlaser, who has been instrumental in our good play.

"There are a few problems but all clubs have them. I'm not boo-hooing about it. Whatever team I put out I would have expected a better performance."

Michael Ihiekwe...ruled out for up to six weeks.

An injury to left-back Joe Mattock meant Rotherham had to field a reshuffled back four on a heavily sanded pitch at the Crown Oil Arena, including a recall for Billy Jones at left-back after four months out.

A sub-standard performance was punished by two goals from ex-Millers loan man Ian Henderson. Matty Lund also scored before Jamie Lindsay claimed a late consolation goal.

"Joe Mattock pulled out of training on Friday after working on all our set pieces," said Warne. 

"They (the medical staff) tell me he might be missing for three or four days so he might be back in training this week hopefully.

"I thought the experience of Billy Jones playing alongside Tilty on his debut would help him. I'm not being critical of anyone because they came in and tried their best but our best wasn't good enough.

"My main concern is that we had loads of play but didn't create enough clear cut chances to win comfortably.

"The pitch was the same for both teams and Rochdale played it better than we did.

"We have nine cup finals left and maybe this result will be a good kick for the lads."

Rotherham remain second in the table but only three points now separate them from Wycombe, in eighth.

Bottom-of-the-table Southend visit AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday.

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