It turned out to be a tale of two strikers in Rotherham United’s latest warm-up match at the New York Stadium.
In the final quarter of an hour of their Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield Town, Daniel Nardiello had to be taken after sustaining a hamstring injury. The club’s top scorer last season went down after putting a low cross into the penalty area. Nardiello hobbled off the pitch, having received treatment for several minutes.
By contrast, Martin Paterson came on as a second-half replacement for Danny Ward and with three minutes left he coolly claimed his first goal in Huddersfield colours to sentence the Millers to their first pre-season defeat.
Paul Raynor, Rotherham’s assistant manager, said Nardiello will be assessed by the club’s medical staff today. His injury is not as bad as first feared but it is an issue Steve Evans’ charges could have done without with less than two weeks to go before they begin their League One campaign at Crewe Alexandra.
The injuries are starting to pile up for Rotherham. Lee Frecklington was left out because he damaged his hip in training on Friday while Richard Brindley has hurt his knee.
“It is obviously a concern when Nards goes down clutching his hamstring,” said Raynor.
“It is important we have a fit squad. We had been saying how pleased we were that we hadn’t picked up any injuries and now we have got a little problem with Richard’s knee and Nards.
Lee missed today with a littl”e niggle but hopefully he will be okay for Tuesday.”
“We want to have a fit, strong squad ready for Crewe,” he added. “Hopefully there is not a problem with Nards and it is nothing too serious.”
In recent weeks, Evans has missed out on signing Lyle Taylor and Jack Redshaw as he looks to increase his firepower. Fitness concerns over Nardiello may force Evans to dip into the transfer market to recruit two new forwards.
Raynor said: “We have been chasing strikers for months but we are not going to pay over the odds. We are not going to break our wage structure. Steve has made that abundantly clear and we want to make sure it is the right one that we get in.
“We don’t want to be sitting here in a month thinking we have rushed and done something hasty and the guy is not figuring. The funds are there and we are looking to spend the chairman’s money but it has got to be the right player who wants to play for Rotherham United.
“It is no good people just thinking it is a meal ticket and coming here for big wages because we won’t do it. If it is in the wage structure and is the right striker, then we will move heaven and earth to try and make it happen.”
Rob Milsom, making his first start at
New York Stadium, stood out as Rotherham controlled long periods of the opening 45 minutes. They were assured in possession and created opportunities for Alex Revell, Michael Tidser and Kieran Agard.
“It was a good workout,” said Raynor. “The first half was pleasing. There were some good individual performances and it was a good team perfomance.”
Evans made nine changes after the interval and there was less cohesion in their play. Raynor described Paterson’s goal as “sloppy”. He lambasted the Millers defenders for allowing Adam Hammill to trick his way to the byline and then cut the ball back to Paterson in the centre.
“We were bitterly disappointed with our second-half display because we didn’t think we imposed ourselves on the game,” said
Raynor. “We felt as if we stepped off the gas and didn’t affect the game as much as we would have liked. I thought we allowed Huddersfield to play at their tempo. They kept the ball probably better than we did.
“I felt as though we got a lot of bodies behind the ball but we didn’t really get balls in the area which could hurt them. It looked as if it was going to fizzle out into a 0-0 draw but we conceded a sloppy goal. The guy should not get away in that corner as easily as that and beat three players. It was far too easy. That was disappointing.
“We know what the problems were and we can iron them out and aim to put them right against Middlesbrough.”
Rotherham: Collin (Shearer HT); Bradley (Brindley HT), Davis (Arnason HT), Morgan (Mullins HT), Skarz (Pringle HT); Worrall (Rose HT), O’Connor, Tidser (Noble HT), Milsom (Rowe 70); Revell (Nardiello HT, Walker 76), Agard (Hylton HT).
Huddersfield: Smithies; Hunt, Clarke (Wallace 69), Lynch (Smith 88), Dixon (Carroll 69); Sinnott (Higginbotham 78), Norwood, Clayton (Crooks 88); Ward (Paterson 69), Scannell (Hammill 69), Vaughan (Carr 88). Substitutes: Bennett, Ridehalgh.
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).
Attendance: 2,445 (421).