ROTHERHAM United are set to be without Clark Robertson for the week that could decide their Championship fate after a hold-up in the defender’s comeback from a hamstring injury.
The Millers originally believed that the centre-half would be available for last Friday’s clash at Millwall.
However, the return of the 27-year-old, who hasn’t featured since the end of February, is taking longer than expected and he won’t return to full training until after the weekend.
That means he definitely misses Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield Town and has little chance of featuring in next week’s games against QPR, Coventry City and Birmingham City as Paul Warne’s side play four times in nine days.
Rotherham are third from bottom in the table, seven points adrift of safety, and fighting for their second-tier lives after Easter defeats against the Lions and Wycombe.
“I think Robbo will join back into training next week,” said Warne. “I thought he was going to join back in earlier.
“It’s not so much that he’s had a setback. The progression to where the medical team thought he would be hasn’t happened. He’s just recovering slower than we hoped and anticipated.”
The Millers, who have at least three matches in hand on their survival rivals, have been boosted by Joe Mattock rejoining training after a December ankle operation, although the left-back, aged 30, is unlikely to be ready for the Huddersfield contest.
“When players come back from injury, it’s not easy to just train with the lads for a week and then perform at your best on a Saturday,” Warne said. “It takes a bit longer than that.
“We’d like to arrange a game behind closed doors for him but that’s nigh on impossible. Luckily with Joe, he’s at an age where a lot of it is muscle memory so he won’t take as long. But he will be a bit rusty.”
Rotherham suffered a shock 3-0 home loss against basement side Wycombe Wanderers on Monday and afterwards Warne was asked how difficult it would be for his side, who have ten games remaining, to stay up in their first year back in the division.
“It’s always been tough,” he said. “I’ve never negated that question or stepped away from it.
“Three of the bottom four teams are the League One promotion teams. The teams that came down from the Premier League look like they’re going to bounce straight back up.
“The teams that got promoted from the Champ, except Leeds United, are in the bottom three of the Premier League. The gaps between the leagues are monumental.
“The lads have competed really well. It is going to be tough, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to lay down and get our bellies rubbed.
“For ten games we’ll give everything we’ve got and that starts at Huddersfield. It’s another game we’ll set up for to try to win.”
The Terriers, eight points above the Millers, suffered a 7-0 defeat at leaders Norwich City on Tuesday
Winger Chiedozie Ogbene came on against Wycombe for his first action since damaging his knee in September and Warne said: “It’s great to have Chieo back.
“The game will definitely have knocked some of the cobwebs off and hopefully we’ll help him get back to his glorious best before the end of the season.
“With all the games coming up, it’s going to be all hands on deck.”
Warne is among the nominations for the Sky Bet March Manager of the Month award and faces competition from Norwich’s Daniel Farke, Barnsley’s Valerien Ismael and Watford’s Xisco Munoz. The winner will be announced tomorrow.
Rotherham are not one of the ten Championship teams placed under a transfer embargo by the EFL over administrative issues relating to the filing of accounts. The clubs are Birmingham, Coventry, Huddersfield, Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City, Derby County, Luton Town, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke City.
THE Millers have their captain back for this weekend’s Championship showdown at Huddersfield Two.
Centre-half Richard Wood received a straight red card in the Good Friday game at Millwall for bringing down Jed Wallace.
The offence was deemed to be depriving an opponent of a scoring opportunity, which brings only a one-match ban, and the skipper sat out Monday’s Wycombe Wanderers match.
PAUL Warne is looking for Rotherham United to re-ignite their survival bid by pulling off their sixth away victory in nine matches at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
The third-bottom Millers’ Championship safety hopes suffered a severe blow with back-to-back Easter defeats against Millwall and Wycombe Wanderers respectively but the manager (right) is confident his side have the spirit to bounce straight back.
“We’ve got really good characters, we’ve got players who give everything every week,” he said. “They’ll want to right the wrongs from the Wycombe game.
“If we were to go and win at Huddersfield suddenly you’re driving home on the bus with a bit of confidence.”
Warne is refusing to get too high or too low as his men navigate a frantic run-in of 12 games in 37 days.
A triumph over Bristol City in the final match before the international break had raised hopes before the loss of momentum caused by two losses on the trot.
“I know how football is,” he said. “If you win a game, you think you’re going to win the next ten. If you lose a game, people think you’re going to lose the next ten. Neither is really true.”
Rotherham under-performed in a 3-0 home reverse against Wycombe on Monday on a day when the teams around them won and Warne has spent the week making sure his squad have the right mind-set going into the Terriers showdown.
“The lads will be hurting and lifting them is a big thing, a massive thing,” he said. “They’ll see the results and suddenly if they don’t believe they’ve got an opportunity to do it, that is difficult. It’s difficult picking them up, it’s difficult picking myself and my staff up.
“However, our level of performances this year has been really good.
“If anyone watches the Wycombe game back without emotion, there wasn’t much between the teams. It wasn’t like my keeper had to make seven saves or something.”
In their last eight away games the Millers have won at Derby County , Middlesbrough, Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol City and have lost against Norwich City, Bournemouth and Millwall.