One, two, three … more injury woe for depleted Rotherham United
Midfielders Sam Clucas and Cafu had to go off with hamstring problems during yesterday's 5-0 Championship loss at Watford which has left manager Matt Taylor's job on the line while centre-half Daniel Ayala managed to reach the final whistle but also suffered a similar issue.
Rotherham already have centre-backs Cameron Humphreys and Tyler Blackett out until well into next year after needing surgery on tears to the same region of their bodies.
“Sam Clucas hamstring, Cafu hamstring and Daniel Ayala hamstring. You couldn't write it,” said Taylor who is fearing the worst when the medical results come through. “Every time we've had a scan it's been bad news, hasn't it?”
Clucas and Ayala, both aged 33, were signed as free agents in September and last month respectively after being without clubs since last term and having no pre-season programme behind them.
Rotherham, who are in the second-tier drop zone, had training sparingly in the build-up to the Hornets clash which was their third fixture in eight days but the new boys, along with summer signing Cafu, were still unable to come through the match at Vicarage Road unscathed.
“To do very little since Tuesday (2-2 home draw with second-placed Ipswich Town) and pick up three hamstrings just shows what this level does to us,” Taylor said. “After every big performance we just get hurt the following game; hurt in terms of a scoreline and hurt even more in terms of the people we lose.”
Clucas was in the starting line-up against Watford and made a 33rd-minute exit, having signalled to the management team that his afternoon was over when he pulled up despite no-one challenging him.
He was replaced by Cafu who then had to depart the action himself late on, leaving the Millers down to ten men.
Ayala was among the substitutes and was introduced early in the second half.
“Sam's was an action which would suggest he's got a serious strain in there,” Taylor said. “‘Caf’, I think he felt it just a little bit earlier before he came off. That is where his body is at.
“Daniel, that's the biggest worry for me. After such a solid performance when we started him against Ipswich we need him available. We'll assess it.”
Left-back Cohen Bramall, who was selected as one of three centre-halves in a 3-5-2 system, lasted the entire match despite having been ill during the week.
The Millers have two other long-term absentees: winger Shane Ferguson who has had three hernia operations and attacker Andre Green, out for the season because of a ruptured achilles tendon.