Rotherham United's fitness hope over new boy Christ Tiehi

The midfielder was substituted during the Millers' match with Leicester City.
Rotherham United's Christ Tiehi plays against Leicester City. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United's Christ Tiehi plays against Leicester City. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United's Christ Tiehi plays against Leicester City. Picture: Jim Brailsford

ROTHERHAM United have their fingers crossed that record signing Christ Tiehi suffered no lasting damage on his home debut at the weekend.

The new boy impressed in the narrow defeat against high-flying Leicester City at AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday before being forced out of the Championship clash late on.

The French-born 25-year-old was hit by cramp, just as he had been a week earlier at Sunderland when he'd pulled on a Rotherham shirt for the first time following his move from Czech Republic side Slovan Liberec for a £400,000-plus fee.

"We hope he's not strained anything," said manager Matt Taylor whose team head to Stoke City tomorrow in the second round of the Carabao Cup. "He's certainly sore in a few body parts. Christ will only get fitter and stronger with the more minutes he plays.

"He's cramped up twice now. He can't give any more. There's a reason why in pre-season you do 45 minutes, then 60, then 70. He's done 65 and 80 straight away in two demanding matches."

Even though Tiehi was training with Rotherham, he was unable to feature in summer friendlies and the first two league fixtures while he waited for his work permit to be granted and his move to New York to be finalised.

That's left him short of match fitness in the opening month of the new campaign.

The Millers were drawing 1-1 with the Foxes - who now occupy top spot, with a 100 per cent record - when the defensive midfielder was substituted and they conceded within minutes of his departure to unluckily lose the contest 2-1.

"That was a big moment when Christ came off the pitch," said Taylor. "Everyone could see why we have brought him to this club.

"He matches opposition attacks with his speed and holds the middle of the pitch. Suddenly, we were a little bit weaker at our core and couldn't quite put pressure on the ball."