The risk attached to Rotherham United goalkeeper Viktor Johansson facing Cardiff City tomorrow

Viktor JohanssonViktor Johansson
Viktor Johansson
Millers manager Matt Taylor on the shot-stopper carrying a shoulder injury going into a huge survival clash.

ROTHERHAM United are to gamble on goalkeeper Viktor Johansson’s damaged shoulder holding out as they seek the win that would virtually guarantee Championship safety.

Millers manager Matt Taylor admits that the shot-stopper’s fitness is a concern but the Swede is poised to start tomorrow night's survival showdown at AESSEAL New York Stadium against Cardiff City, who are also fighting for their second-tier lives.

Johansson, Rotherham’s top performer this season, has been wrapped in cotton wool in the build-up to protect the joint that kept him out for three matches earlier this month.

“We think it’s a risk worth taking,” Taylor told the Advertiser. “He’s an outstanding goalkeeper for the level. We’re not out of the woods in relation to his injury; we understand that. But we also understand that we want him out on that pitch.”

Johansson managed to play at Bristol City last weekend when Rotherham chose not to make an emergency-loan signing that would have ruled their first-choice keeper out of Thursday evening's crucial contest.

A victory would make the 19th-placed Millers all but mathematically safe because it would take them six points ahead of third-bottom Reading with only two matches left to play and they have a far superior goal difference.

“Viktor got through the Bristol game and his shoulder hasn’t reacted in a painful way since,” Taylor said. “He’s done a little bit of training this week without really opening up. Time will tell on Thursday whether we’ve made the right decision.”

Another key player who is in contention is Ollie Rathbone after the groin issue that has plagued the midfielder for months finally showed signs of easing following the match at Ashton Gate where he came on as a second-half substitute.

“He has got a chance,” Taylor said. “We were quite pleased with his pain levels post Bristol. For the first time he was able to get out of bed on a Sunday!

“He has improved slightly from what he has been and we have to make a decision whether he starts or can impact it from the bench. We are hoping he has turned a little bit of a corner.”

With Johansson’s deputy, Josh Vickers, out injured, number three Robbie Hemfrey is expected to be on the bench.

Taylor is expecting the match to be “blood, guts, and thunder” as the Millers look to safeguard their Championship status after a trio of failed bids.

“It’s huge,” the boss said. “Every game is huge but it makes it bigger because we know what we have not been able to achieve in the last three attempts.

“In the last six seasons we have been a yo-yo side and we are trying to change the narrative. I feel we are good enough to do it.”