Rotherham United: Waiting game works for Danny Ward

Danny Ward
Danny Ward
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Rotherham United resisted the temptation to rush back striker Danny Ward to make sure he’ll be fully fit for the crucial Easter weekend.

The Millers should have the former Huddersfield Town hotshot in their squad for Good Friday’s clash at Birmingham City and the Easter Monday home match against Brighton.

The 23-year-old was close to being fit for the derby with Sheffield Wednesday 10 days ago, but boss Steve Evans and his management team made a late decision to hold him back until after the international break.

Ward, who has been a goalscoring hit since his January move to AESSEAL New York Stadium, was rated as “95 per cent fit, certainly not below 90” ahead of the Owls showdown after sustaining a foot injury in training and missing matches against his former club, Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forest.

Evans, who contemplated using the attacker as a 15-minute impact substitute, said: “He’ll be a million per cent fit after the two-week break.”

Ward, who has scored goals against Charlton Athletic, Cardiff City and Millwall, was on target in the first week of the international window for the Millers’ reserves side against Burton Athletic.

Rotherham go into the bank-holiday double-header five points clear of Wigan who occupy the third and final relegation spot in the Championship with seven matches to play.

Meanwhile, midfield man Lee Frecklington is relishing life back in the first team after being given a more advanced brief since his return from double-hernia surgery.

“That role suits me. You get chances of goals,” he said. “But it only suits you if you manage to keep the ball. Otherwise, you’re running round like a headless chicken closing everyone down.

“In recent weeks we’ve managed to keep the ball and if we carry on doing that I think I’ll get more chances to score some goals.”

Frecklington was brought back for the 2-0 win at Huddersfield but was sent off after receiving a second yellow card after the interval as he turned in one of his most influential performances of the season.

After missing out against Wigan because of a one-game ban, he was back in the starting 11 against Forest and Wednesday.

Kari Arnason, who has starred in midfield after moving there from centre-half, serves the second game of a two-match ban for 10 yellow cards on Friday.

Frecklington conceded: “He’s is a big loss. Since he’s come into that midfield role he’s been fantastic. He’s a big presence that we’re going to miss but we’re a squad so I’m sure someone will come in and do just as good a job.”

Arnason played in central defence for Iceland in their 3-0 2016 European Championships Group A qualifying win in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

Loan left-back Daniel Lafferty was an unused sub on Sunday in Northern Ireland’s 2-1 Group F victory over Finland.