Survival hero Richard Wood believes he’s proved he’s worth a new Rotherham United deal after battling back from the most frustrating spell of his career.
The centre-half was a commanding figure for the Millers in the last three months of the season during their march from the drop zone to Championship survival under manager Neil Warnock.
But, until Warnock’s February arrival, Wood had found himself an unwanted man under previous bosses Steve Evans and Neil Redfearn.
“That 18 months was the toughest time I’ve had in football,” he said. “All through my career, I’ve always been in the team and played.
“To not be involved and be sat in the stand is horrible. It’s not nice.”
The 30-year-old defender is out of contract in the summer and wants to remain at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
“I’d like to stay. I’m settled in the area. Everthing’s going well for me,” he said. “I’m playing well. I finally got a run of games, which I felt I deserved, especially after the 18 months I had after I signed.
“I’ve shown people what I can do and what I’m about.”
Wood played only eight times for Rotherham in his first season after being recruited by Evans in 2014 and featured just once during Redfearn’s four-month reign between October 2015 and February this year.
But he appeared in 12 of Warnock’s 16 matches in charge and only a calf injury prevented that figure being higher.
Warnock inspired an 11-match unbeaten run to seal survival, sparking a clamour from fans for him to remain in the hot-seat beyond the May 31 expiry of his short-term deal.
He has been holding talks with chairman Tony Stewart and a decision is expected in the next couple of days, as is the release of the club’s retained list.
“All the players want him to stay,” Wood said. “It’s been good.
“It’s been enjoyable these last few months.”
Another man coming to the end of his contract is goalkeeper Adam Collin who has spent much of this season on loan at Aberdeen.
He made only three appearances for the Scottish Premier League side, where a permanent deal is unlikely, and he is expected to be among the players the Millers allow to move on.
Meanwhile, Rotherham’s new home kit for next season will have a new name on the front.
The red and white shirts with yellow trim will bear the name of sponsors Hodge Clemco as Parkgate Shopping move to the back.
The new away strip is set to be unveiled next week.