Rotherham United: Wanted man Wood signs news Millers contract

Richard WoodRichard Wood
Richard Wood
Rotherham United have killed off any prospect of captain Richard Wood leaving in the transfer window by handing the defender a new deal.

The 32-year-old has been a major influence in the Millers’ climb into the League One play-off places and the club have rewarded him with a 12-month contract extension, taking him through to the summer of 2019.

League Two Chesterfield had made the experienced centre-half a January target but Rotherham boss Paul Warne never wanted to let him go.

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Semi AjayiSemi Ajayi
Semi Ajayi

Warne had considered bringing in a new central defender, but an unbeaten run of nine matches and Wood’s blossoming partnership with Semi Ajayi at the heart of the Millers rearguard means the manager is content with the options he already has.

“There was only one centre-half I wanted. He would have improved the group,” Warne said before Wood’s extended deal was announced.

“I’m not saying he would have come in and taken the place of anyone who was playing, but he would have added to the squad.

“Through circumstances, that deal couldn’t happen, and there is no-one else out there who I really believe would improve our group. I’m happy with what I’ve got.”

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Caolan LaveryCaolan Lavery
Caolan Lavery

The Millers have tightened up defensively since Wood and Ajayi were paired together in December and have recorded three shut-outs in their last six matches.

“The defence have been doing really well,” Warne said. “We kept a clean sheet against Bradford (2-0 home win on Tuesday) and someone told me afterwards that it’s the first time they haven’t scored away from home this season.

“It’s helped I’ve been able to put out a settled back five and they’ve been doing really well.”

Wood said: “I had six months to run on my contract so I am very happy to sign an extra year on top of this season. It has been difficult at times over the past few years, but Paul Warne has had a lot of belief in me and looks to me to be a senior figure in the dressing room. It has been much more settled since he took the job, so I am very happy that we have been able to sort something out.

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“Semi has come back in and has been unbelievable. He has definitely got all the attributes. If I can help him and we can keep producing clean sheets, like we have done over the last couple of games, then all the better.”

Rotherham, who have no match tomorrow becaused scheduled opponents MK Dons are in FA Cup fourth-round action, paid a six-figure fee yesterday to land central midfielder Matt Palmer from Burton Albion.

They are close to a signing Sheffield United striker Caolan Lavery, with the Blades ready to agree a loan move.