Shane Ferguson setback as Rotherham United enter League One week of destiny

Shane FergusonShane Ferguson
Shane Ferguson
ROTHERHAM United are heading into the three-match run-in that will decide their League One automatic-promotion fate without Shane Ferguson.

The wing-back's season is over because of a foot injury and he will miss tomorrow's home match against Oxford United, Tueaday's visit to Sunderland and the last-day trip to Gillingham the following Saturday.

Another wing-back, Jordi Osei-Tutu, is recovering well from a leg knock picked up in the midweek loss at Burton Albion and should be available this weekend.

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"Shane's got damage to the pad under his foot and is in a lot of pain," manager Paul Warne said. "He's wearing a protective boot."

A late-season wobble that has seen the second-placed Millers record only two wins in their last nine third-tier outings, has allowed MK Dons and Sheffield Wednesday into the automatic mix. Wigan Athletic are five points clear at the summit and set to finish top.

Warne believes Rotherham need two more victories to secure a place in the Championship for the third time under his leadership.

"With three games to go we are still in a really good position," he said. "It's a big week coming up. If we come up short it's on my shoulders. We'd go into the play-offs and try to build the lads up for that.

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"But that's not what we want. Our intention is to win these games and get ourselves up automatically."

Rotherham had been the division's top scorers until their recent poor run which has seen them find the net in league action only four times since the beginning of March

"Our scoring prowess has definitely dropped off," Warne said. "Some players possibly aren't as sharp as they once were.

"We've had a week of practising set-pieces. I feel we have lost a massive threat on those. We don't feel like the force we once were."

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The Millers racked up 21 goal attempts without success in the 2-0 loss at Burton.

"The other night there were ample opportunities to score that we just didn't take," Warne said. "The lads need to get their shots off a little bit earlier and not look for the perfect goal. Sometimes you have to shoot through legs."

Oxford are fighting for a play-off spot and come to AESSEAL New York Stadium on a high after beating MK on Tuesday.

Millers midfielder Jamie Lindsay says he and his teammates must "stand up and be counted" now that the pressure is really on and is calling on the side to hit the same standards they reached in last Saturday's 1-0 triumph over Ipswich Town.

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"We need to pull ourselves together for a massive game," he said. "We have enough characters, enough big players, enough people who have been there and done it before to get us over the line.

"Obviously, there’s pressure, but you need to be able to play with pressure. Unfortunately, our wee wobble has come at the wrong end of the campaign.

"The boys have done excellently over the season to put us in this position. Now it's about replicating the performance against Ipswich."

Rotherham's 83-point tally is the same as MK's but the Millers have a better goal difference and a game in hand. Wednesday, in fourth spot, have three matches left and are four points further back with an inferior goal difference to both the teams just above them.