No risk-taking as striker Proctor nears a return

ROTHERHAM United will be taking no risks with the final stages of Jamie Proctor’s recovery from a cruciate ligament injury.

The striker was struck down just seven games into the season and has since undergone surgery and a slow and steady rehabilitation programme. This week he was given the final all-clear by his specialist and has been gradually increasing his fitness work.

It is not inconceivable that Proctor could be available before the regular season ends and manager Paul Warne would certainly welcome the return of one of his headline signings of last summer.

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But in his exclusive Advertiser column this week, Warne struck a cautionary note.

“Jamie is doing well but there is no way I will risk getting him back sooner. If someone said there's a 80 per cent chance his other knee could go if he's not 100 per cent then I would never risk that. Until he is fully right, that won't happen. I have got striking options anyway so it's not a major concern, but he is one of our big players so it would be great to have him back in the fold.”

Warne said Proctor is expected to start full training in a month’s time and then would need a couple more weeks to be in a position to play.

“He's now at the stage where he is doing twists and turns and more ball work and he was in the gym with us at eight o'clock yesterday morning,” he added.

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 “If he's fit for the end of the regular season or the play-offs then he's another option for me and great news for the squad. But in fairness it would be great news for him.

“His first child is imminent, it's been a big year for him and unfortunately it has been plagued by this injury. As a human being, he is a great kid and I'll be buzzing to have him back.”

Joe Mattock: fitness being monitored for trip to Northampton.

Proctor aside, the only other new injury concern for tomorrow’s match at Northampton is Joe Mattock, who is struggling with a dead leg.

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The match comes too soon for long-term absentee Darren Potter but he has been inked in for a run-out with the reserves next week.

The clash at Sixfields, where the Millers will be backed by more than 1,000 fans, is the second in a run of three successive away games and a chance to strike from the back-to-back losses to Rochdale and MK Dons. Rotherham remain fourth in League One, well entrenched in the play-off frame, while Northampton are hovering just above the safety line.

Added Warne:  “It's a home game for them, we've lost a couple on the spin, and they'll see it as a chance. The lads have still been brilliant for me. We’ll massage their egos a bit, shown them what they’ve been really good at the last few months and go there to try and win.”

You can follow developments before, during and after the game at Sixfields on our Live Matchday Blog. Also, catch today’s Advertiser 24-page sports pullout for in-depth coverage of the Millers.