Rotherham United key men set for Sheffield Wednesday derby all-clear

By Paul Davis | 07/12/2018

Rotherham United key men set for Sheffield Wednesday derby all-clear
Clark Robertson

ROTHERHAM United duo Clark Robertson and Joe Newell are poised to hand the Millers a derby-day boost by winning their fight to be fit for Saturday's showdown with Sheffield Wednesday.

The pair limped out of last weekend's Championship clash at Norwich City but have made good progress this week as Paul Warne's men gear up for their visit to Hillsborough.

Warne, nominated for the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for November, believes his team are capable of winning away for the first time this season if they hit top form in S6.

Left-winger Newell is back in training after a tight calf while centre-half Robertson, nursing a groin issue, is stepping up his workouts and is on course for a full recovery by the weekend.

“It's looking promising that Robbo will be available,” said Warne on Thursday morning. “He might not train today and just train tomorrow.

Joe Newell

“He did loads of groin work with the physios on Wednesday. He's a young, fit lad so there is a good chance he will be available. The same with Newell as well, he should be okay.

“Having Robbo would be a big boost. He's done well and has formed a good partnership with Semi (Ajayi).”

Wednesday, in 16th spot, have lost six of their last eight games and the 20th-placed Millers would go above them in the table if they win.

“Everyone is hyping up the fact that Wednesday aren't in the best form of their lives and that we're a potential banana skin for them,” Warne said. “I don't know if we are. We still haven't won away from home yet. We want to address that.

“Wednesday have got an amazing squad, a great group of players. They've collected more points than us. We're talking about how well we're doing but they're still ahead of us in the league.

“The only way we can compete is if we're absolutely at our best. I believe we can beat any team in the league, including Wednesday, when we're at our best. It's different if we're not at our best!

“Form goes out of the window when it's a derby. A derby negates anything that has happened before. I think it will be two fairly evenly-matched teams and it's about who performs best on the day.”

There is only an outside chance that Warne will have forward Kyle Vassell, who is having treatment for a groin problem, at his disposal for the Owls contest.

But the news is better on midfielder Matt Palmer after fears that he had suffered a serious injury in training before last Saturday's Canaries test.

“Matt Palmer is training again,” Warne revealed. “He went down badly last week and went on crutches to the hospital. We thought, worst-case scenario, that he'd suffered a severe knee injury.

“Luckily, that's not the case. He hasn't done any long-term damage. He's just been a bit sore. He'll play a part in today's session and we'll see if there is any reaction.”

Central defender Sean Raggett is finally in contention again and could be in the squad for the first time since ankle surgery in September if Robertson isn't quite ready.

“I've got Woody (Richard Wood) and Sean as well,” Warne said. “There are no dramas at centre-half. Sean is still a bit rusty, which is understandable, but he's champing at the bit to get back in.”

Warne lost out to Norwich's Daniel Farke for the Manager of the Month award when the winner was announced this morning. West Bromwich Albion's Darren Moore and Aston Villa's Dean Smith were the other nominees.

There will be no pay-on-the-day entry at Hillsborough.

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