Ban threat for Rotherham United midfielder Matt Crooks

GIANT midfield man Matt Crooks stands on the brink of missing two matches of Rotherham United’s League One promotion run-in.
Matt CrooksMatt Crooks
Matt Crooks

The player has accumulated nine bookings and faces a suspension if he picks up a tenth yellow card in any of the Millers’ next four outings.

Manager Paul Warne, whose table-topping side are at home to MK Dons this weekend, believes the 6ft 5in 26-year-old has suffered because of his size this season.

“He’s always going to pick up bookings because he closes down and he’s so big,” Warne said. “People throw themselves to the deck so he’s always at risk of a yellow card.

“I’m not saying he has been blameless for nine bookings, by the way.”

Eleven-goal Crooks will be banned for two games if he transgresses again. The cut-off point is 37 league matches and Rotherham have so far played 33.

Warne is virtually resigned to losing the midfielder, who has appeared in all but two of the Millers’ third-tier fixtures this term, and won’t ask him to curb his aggressive pressing while he’s walking  the disciplinary tightrope.

“Crooksy’s aware of it,” the boss said. “I don’t want to make it a big deal so he doesn’t tackle anymore.

“Ideally, he’ll get through it without a tenth booking. Do I think he will? Probably not.”

Meanwhile, Rotherham remain in no rush to give a debut to Curtis Tilt following the centre-half’s arrival in the January transfer window from Blackpool.

After recovering from a minor glute problem, the defender is training fully and available for selection but has yet to even been named among the substitutes.

“I don’t really go for centre-halves on the bench,” Warne said. “It’s not that often that I change a centre-half during a game. I like to keep my options on the bench as attacking as I can.

“When I signed Curtis I told him it was for the long term. He’s ticking along. He just has to be patient.”

Another of the Millers’ centre-halves, Clark Robertson, has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign after a date with a specialist in Nottingham last Monday confirmed a foot fracture.

Teenage striker Josh Kayode is in the final stages of his rehabilitation from a hamstring problem and is set to head back to loan club Carlisle United after the weekend.

Another young forward, Jacob Gratton, has now undergone surgery on the cruciate-knee-ligament injury he suffered playing for the youth team soon after signing his first professional deal.

“Everything has gone well,” Warne said. “He’s got a long road to recovery but he’s in good hands and we’ll get him there.”