Rotherham United's Joe Mattock hope, Matt Crooks' injection complication and a Millers coaching change

Joe MattockJoe Mattock
Joe Mattock
ROTHERHAM United are hoping to fast-track defender Joe Mattock back into action for this weekend's League One home showdown with Rochdale.

The left-back has been out for more than a month with a back problem but a glut of defensive injuries means the Millers need him back in double-quick time.

He was due to resume full training yesterday (Thursday) morning and if comes through that and today's session unscathed he is a likely starter against Dale.

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"Could Joe play at the weekend?" said manager Paul Warne. "That's a tough one for me. I don't like rushing players back but sometimes needs must. 

"Joe has been doing loads of straight-line running so fitness wise he is fine. It's just his movement we have to get right. He did loads of crossing on Tuesday and ran 10k on Wednesday. 

"If he gets through two days of training, I'll strongly consider playing him."

Billy Jones, who can play right-back or left-back, has been ruled out until next year with a hamstring tear and centre-half Richard Wood is also missing with hamstring damage.

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Warne's backline concerns have been exacerbated by central defender Clark Robertson's troublesome groin, which has required an injection, and left-back/winger Trevor Clarke's ankle and elbow soreness.

Sixteenth-placed Dale arrive at AESSEAL New York Stadium to face top-six Rotherham having lost their last five league matches.

Midfielder Matt Crooks is set to play even though, like Robertson, he has a groin issue.

Robertson had his procedure on Tuesday but Crooks' situation is more complex.

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"The injection Crooksy needs is a bit complicated," Warne said. "I'm not a medical man so this is the short version ...

"The injection goes to the bone where there's a problem. He's also got a problem in his jaw with a wisdom tooth and he has to have his wisdom tooth taken out first. 

"If he doesn't, the jaw gets stronger because of the injection and then they wouldn't be able to get the tooth out. 

"It's dental work first, then the injection, then he's out for two weeks. He's doing power work and strengthening work to alleviate the pain. 

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"Tuesday was the first day in about six weeks where he's trained and been pain-free. That might be his mind telling him he doesn't want the injection! 

"If it's at all possible to manage it in a different way and we don't have to have him out then obviously we'll do that."

Shaun MacDonald is running again after being sidelined since October and Warne estimates the midfielder is around two weeks away from fitness.

Meanwhile, the Millers are expected to announce shortly that goalkeeping coach Mike Pollitt has moved to his home-town club, Bolton Wanderers, and that former Rotherham keeper Andy Warrington has come in from Lincoln City to replace him.