Captain Richard Wood and his Rotherham United future

Richard WoodRichard Wood
Richard Wood
Is the club's longest-serving player in the final weeks of his Millers career?

RICHARD Wood’s time at Rotherham United could be coming towards an end after the skipper’s fall from favour under new manager Matt Taylor.

The 37-year-old is the club’s longest-serving player and a Millers legend for his exploits since moving to AESSEAL New York Stadium back in 2014.

However, he has lost his place in the matchday 18 and wasn’t part of the travelling party for the Championship trips to Blackpool last Saturday and Reading on Tuesday.

Wood, who has racked up 250 Rotherham appearances in a career of 600-plus games, is out of contract in the summer.

Taylor says he has had “honest chats” with the veteran centre-half and that “all options are still open” but admits that the club captain is now down the pecking order.

“It just shows what we have done in terms of the transfer window and how we’ve improved that there are personnel ahead of him,” said the boss, whose team’s four-match unbeaten run came to a frustrating end at Reading on Tuesday.

The Millers made seven signings in January to significantly strengthen their squad.

Wood has spoken about his ambition to play until he is 40 before moving into coaching and wouldn’t be short of lower-league suitors if he was to be released.

As things stand, it would seem that the close of this campaign will signal a sad but natural parting of the ways.

His name was on the 24-man squad list Rotherham submitted to the EFL earlier this month, although he hasn’t started a league fixture since the 3-0 defeat at Millwall on New Year’s Day.

Earlier in the season, he played well as the middle man in a backline of three centre-halves but a switch to a 4-3-3 formation involving just two central defenders hasn’t helped his cause.

He has been part of three third-tier promotions and the same number of second-tier relegations and famously scored both Wembley goals in the 2018 League One Play-off Final triumph over Shrewsbury Town.

Fans would love to see him remain with the Millers in some capacity but his desire to extend his playing days would appear to rule out the prospect of a coach’s role even though he is working towards his UEFA B licence and is already involved from time to time with the under-18s set-up.

Taylor, who took the hot-seat in October, played down the chances of a place for Wood on his backroom staff, saying: “Anyone coming into a coaching capacity needs to have coached first. You have to have some experience and know-how under your belt.

“Woody’s initial focus is to play.”