Relieved boss Alan Stubbs has welcomed the return of captain Lee Frecklington to the Rotherham United first-team frame.
Frecklington is in line for his first start since opening day when the Millers do battle with bottom club Cardiff City in the Championship at New York Stadium on Saturday.
The midfield man has made substitute appearances in the last two matches after recovering from a calf injury and was an immediate influence during the 4-2 defeat at Blackburn last weekend when he came off the bench in the 51st minute with Stubbs’ side already 3-1 down.
“It was good to see Frecks on the pitch because he gave us a platform to play,” the manager said.
“He’s goes on and, before you know it, he’s getting on the ball.”
The skipper’s chances of making the starting 11 against the Bluebirds are increased because loan midfielder Tom Adeyemi is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Another player Stubbs is keen to see back in action is centre-half Kirk Broadfoot who had back surgery in August and is on schedule to be available again next month.
Calling on his experienced players to step up as Rotherham look to improve on 21st place, Stubbs said: “We have missed Broady, there is no doubt about that, and we look forward to bringing him back.
“Until that happens, the players in the team have to do better than they’re doing. Some of the senior lads need to stand up and be counted.”
The Millers have suffered heavy defeats in all four of their away games and Broadfoot’s rugged competitiveness could have made a difference in those losses at Aston Villa, Brighton, Barnsley and Blackburn.
“It has to hurt players,” Stubbs said. “When you’ve got a battle against someone, first and foremost you make sure they know they’re in a game.
“You look at the third goal against Blackburn and it’s all too easy for Ben Marshall to come inside and take a shot at goal. I’d love to see us in a position to get shots off as easily as that.”
Rotherham are a point above the drop zone and Stubbs has blamed individual mistakes for a goals-against record of -11 which is the worst in the division.
The boss admits he has much to do in his mission to tighten his team defensively.
“It would make it all the more rewarding to get them doing the things they should be doing, because it’s going to take a lot of work,” he said.
“You look at the away form in general, even last season, and it was an area that needed to improve.
“The only way it is going to improve is for players to stop making fundamental errors. They’re not mistakes that can’t be rectified because they’re that fundamental.
“They’re basic mistakes that are giving chances to the opposition, and I’m afraid they keep recurring too often for me.”