Boss Matt Taylor addresses club captain Richard Wood's absence from the Rotherham United first-team fold

Richard WoodRichard Wood
Richard Wood
The centre-half hasn't made the Millers squad for nearly six weeks.

CLUB captain Richard Wood’s Rotherham United frustration is set to continue, with manager Matt Taylor offering no time frame on the end of the defender’s first-team exile.

The veteran centre-half hasn’t made the matchday 18 since the trip to Watford nearly six weeks ago even though the Millers have been hit by injuries in his position.

Taylor says the club’s longest-serving player remains in his thinking for the Championship survival run-in yet the boss appeared to rule out a return unless he is forced into a change of approach.

“Woody is training well at the moment but until there’s a need to change that defensive unit and the structure of that backline things will probably stay the same,” the boss said. “The defence has been performing relatively well.”

Wood, who is in his ninth season at AESSEAL New York Stadium, isn’t the only player who hasn’t been in the frame despite being fit.

Wing-back Peter Kioso’s period out of favour has lasted for the same amount of time and midfielder Jamie Lindsay and full-back Wes Harding have also found themselves surplus to requirements on occasion.

The latter two have both been back in the squad in the last fortnight and have come on as substitutes.

Taylor dismissed social-media speculation that there had been a fall-out between him and Wood who was a regular starter under old manager Paul Warne and initially kept his place following the new boss’s October appointment.

“Twitter is Twitter,” he said. “Richard Wood has still got a big part to play. His situation is the same as it is for any other player: if you keep training well and putting yourself forward, you will get another chance.”

A recent switch to two central defenders in a back four hasn’t helped the cause of the 37-year-old who has played most of his football in the last two and a half years as the middle man in a rearguard of three centre-backs. After injuries to Grant Hall and Sean Morrison, Taylor’s preferred centre-half pairing is Bailey Wright and Cameron Humphreys while right-backs Lee Peltier and Harding and midfielder Hakeem Odoffin can cover there.

The manager’s desire to pack his bench with as many attacking options as possible has also contributed to Wood sliding out of the reckoning.