Watford preparations hit as Rotherham United fall victim to sickness bug

Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United boss Matt Taylor. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor. Picture: Jim Brailsford
ROTHERHAM United are battling against an outbreak of illness in their ranks as they build up for Saturday's Championship trip to Watford.

Two players have gone down sick ahead of the final match before the international break and are having to stay away from the club's Roundwood training complex.

One is a first-team candidate who hasn't been named by manager Matt Taylor and the other is young attacker Ciaran McGuckin who missed out on a bench spot against Ipswich Town in midweek because of his condition.

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"We've got something going around at the moment," said the boss at this afternoon's pre-match press conference. "There is certainly something in the camp. I think it's to do with the time of year. A lot of clubs have got it.

"Ciaran has been ill and hasn't been in today so we don't expect him to be back in a physical capacity this weekend. The other player, I hope he will be available. I don't know. He's not been on site today.

"Saturday is still a day and a half away. You never know. It's about what the illness has taken out of him going into the game."

Winger Fred Onyedinma played against Queens Park Rangers 11 days ago after being ill and could be the cause of the new cases of sickness.

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"Maybe Fred was the 'host'," Taylor said. "They seem to be rough for 24/48 hours. Within that period we go round to their house and give them as many antibiotics as possible."

Emergency signing Daniel Ayala, who had been without a club since May until the injury-hit Millers came calling late last month, came through his first start in the 2-2 home draw with the Tractor Boys and is in the frame for more action at centre-half against the Hornets.

"He seems to be okay," Taylor said. "He's a bit stiff, a bit sore; tight in the usual areas. I thought he understood his game well. He didn't chase the game, he waited for his moments to defend.

"He was solid, he understood his partnership with Haks (Odoffin) and the midfield in front of him. I was pleased with his contribution."

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Midfielder Odoffin has been superb as a stand-in centre-back and Rotherham have to decide whether to risk him starting a third match in eight days so soon after returning from two bouts of hamstring trouble.

Midfield man Jamie Lindsay is hoping for his first game-time of the season now that he has shaken off an achilles issue and defender Lee Peltier is fit to return following two matches out with a hamstring complaint.

The fixture, which pits the 22nd-placed Millers against a side in 16th spot and on an unbeaten five-match run, will come just too soon for another centre-half, Grant Hall (hip).

"Grant has trained fully today but he needs more training time," Taylor said.