With Rotherham United's safety on the line, does midfielder Ollie Rathbone have a chance of making Monday's Middlesbrough clash?

The Millers could safeguard their Championship status with a win.
Ollie RathboneOllie Rathbone
Ollie Rathbone

ROTHERHAM United are hoping key man Ollie Rathbone can play through the pain barrier as they bid to seal their Championship survival in their final home match of the campaign.

The 20th-placed Millers take on Middlesbrough in Monday's 1pm kick-off knowing that a win would guarantee their safety and that a draw would make them all but mathematically certain to stay up.

Midfielder Rathbone's involvement in the run-in has been curtailed by a groin issue, although he managed to start last Thursday's 2-1 loss to Cardiff City after coming off the bench in the fixture before that: the defeat by the same scoreline at Bristol City.

"There's pain there," said manager Matt Taylor following the Bluebirds reverse. "He's a little bit sore. It's just about how he reacts now."

The 26-year-old, withdrawn in the 70th minute at AESSEAL New York Stadium, is on a list of players whose fitness is a concern as Rotherham gear up for the Boro clash.

Right-back Lee Peltier and midfield man Conor Coventry had to be substituted against Cardiff and centre-half Tyler Blackett didn't even make the squad. All three have hamstring conditions.

"Lee has had this constant complaint," Taylor said. "Conor's is a new one. Whether it was cramping up or tightness in there, we're not yet sure. We will assess him going into Monday.”

The boss had been optimistic that Rathbone had "turned a little bit of a corner" after reporting fewer ill effects than usual following the match at Ashton Gate.

The Millers trained today at New York and will do so again tomorrow when a number of their squad will be checked out by the club's medical staff.

"We might have to rejig certain personnel because of where some bodies are at," Taylor said.

A loss to Boro, who will finish in either third or fourth spot, would leave Rotherham's fate hinging on their last-day trip to already-relegated Wigan Athletic.

Taylor's men were within minutes of being virtually safe earlier today when third-bottom Reading were losing 1-0 to Wigan in stoppage time.

A Royals loss in their penultimate fixture would have left them three points behind Rotherham and with a much worse goal difference. However, they grabbed a last-gasp equaliser to prolong their campaign.