Can Millers afford to give goal ace a rest?

COULD the unthinkable have even crossed anyone's mind - to give Adam Le Fondre a rest?

The little Rotherham United striker remains top scorer in League Two with 17 goals but has just clocked up his fifth successive game without a goal, not a lengthy famine by most standards but a long time for Alf.

In fact, five goalless games represents the longest spell without a goal of his two seasons with the Millers and he has scored in only one of the last nine games - and this from someone who has been remarkably consistent and had rarely reached a third consecutive game without being on the scoresheet.

His recent form overall hasn't been his best and his game was sharper all round back in the autumn. Sometimes even sitting out one game can help refresh players.

He wasn't happy at being substituted late on at Wycombe on Saturday and manager Ronnie Moore felt compelled to indicate his dismay at the way the decision was taken.

Regularly lauded for his goalscoring feats and the quality of his finishing both last season and this, decisions like Saturday and the admonishment which followed are pretty much alien territory for the man nicknamed "The Goal Machine" by the club's fans.

With transfer talk swirling around, Le Fondre would not be the first player to be distracted at such a time by such speculation although the club insist there has been no bid or firm inquiry.

There's no doubt that opponents are taking closer order over him which isn't surprising - his reputation is going ahead of him and top scorers in any division are unlikely to be allowed to roam free.

It goes without saying that he remains the likeliest to get a goal but even the chances and the near misses have not been falling his way recently.

The Millers head for Stevenage tonight (for the first time ever) with boss Ronnie Moore insisting it will be all hands to the pump against a side who showed what they are capable of when tipping Newcastle out of the FA Cup recently.

The home side, big and strong and effective on set-pieces, have proved difficult to beat at home in their first season in the league. They secured a 1-1 draw at Don Valley Stadium.

They were 2-0 home winners over Morecambe on Saturday and after the Millers they will be gearing up for a FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Reading on Saturday.

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