Rotherham United skipper Sean Morrison on his injury troubles and missing out on a date with Neil Warnock
Rotherham United's captain was talking after last Sunday's derby defeat at Sheffield Wednesday when this Saturday' visitors to AESSEAL New York Stadium, Queens Park Rangers, were still seeking to name a replacement for the sacked Gareth Ainsworth.
“Neil's a great manager and he's done it for a long, long time,” said the 32-year-old of the veteran who has won more English promotions than anyone else and also famously kept the Millers and Huddersfield Town in the Championship during short miracle spells in 2016 and this year respectively.
“When you look back at managers from the last however many years - the last three decades - no-one has done it quite like him. He's a great guy, great at what he does. I don't think he'll take the QPR job.”
Morrison turned out to be right and it's Spaniard Marti Cifuentes who was appointed this week and will be bringing the drop-zone Hoops to South Yorkshire to do second-tier battle in his first match at the helm.
Rotherham's skipper is hoping to be in the thick of the action after playing the last two matches following a nightmare 21 months during which he underwent surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament with Cardiff and then, after moving to New York, had an operation on quad damage before picking up a calf problem.
“I'm feeling good,” the 32-year-old said. “The body is finally starting to play ball, I think. It's been a long road.
“There have been little niggles and I had the calf thing six or seven weeks ago. I had a week's training and then got through the whole game last Wednesday (against Coventry City) when they were expecting to get only 60 minutes out of me. With only three days recovery, to come to Hillsborough on a big pitch and get through another 90 minutes, I'm delighted with that.
“An ACL is not a nice injury to have. It's a tough one. You've almost got to learn to run again, learn to turn again, learn to stop, start and kick a football again.
“The knee's great, it's just the rest of the body! We put our bodies through the mill and I've been doing it for a long time.
“As a professional athlete, injuries are part and parcel of the job. You're going to pick them up here and there. The calf injury, as minor as it was in terms of the other two, meant three weeks off the pitch. That's not what you want."
QPR are in 23rd spot, one place below the Millers, after losing their last six matches. Midfielder Andre Dozzell is suspended after his dismissal against Leicester City but they have centre-back Jimmy Dunne available again after a one-match ban.
Rotherham are still in the grip of an injury crisis and have four players - including his fellow central defenders, Cameron Humphreys, Tyler Blackett - out long term because of surgery and a couple of others not quite ready for first-team returns.
“It seemed like a few weeks ago we were getting the whole squad back together,” Morrison said. “Obviously, there was then sad news with Cam and Tyler. They're dramatic losses for us.
“Myself and Hally (centre-back Grant Hall) have been coming back from injuries and trying to get up to speed. We never want to use injuries as an excuse for defeats but they haven't helped.”
Rotherham's away woes this season continued in S6 with a 2-0 loss but they have a chance to get back on track as three of their next four fixtures are on their own turf.
“We need to pick ourselves up because we've got a massive game at the weekend,” Morrison said. “QPR will look to start well. They'll be expecting us to start well. They know how we perform at home.
“We've done well at New York against top-half teams. We now need to do that against the teams in and around us. We've got a good squad. We just need to learn to do the ‘horrible’ things better.
“I'm happy I can try to use my experience, my leadership skills, to push this team in the right way.
“QPR is going to be a very difficult match. They've had a tough time for the last year but they're going to have that ‘new manager’ bounce. We need to try to shut that down as quickly as possible.”
He's just glad it doesn't involve Warnock.