Rotherham United: Warne to give Belaid long-awaited Millers chance
Caretaker boss Paul Warne is ready to end forgotten man Aimen Belaid's 11-month Rotherham United torment.
The French-born central defender hasn’t played a single minute of first-team football since January after being ignored by a series of previous managers.
But Warne says that is about to change now he is in charge on a temporary basis of the Championship’s bottom club.
“If I was the only centre-half who had been overlooked the whole season in a team that loses quite a lot, I would be hugely disappointed,” Warne told The Star. “He hasn’t lost his head, so I will repay him.
“He has trained well, kept himself going. He will definitely play a part. It’s up to him what he does with his opportunity.”
Neil Warnock never turned to Belaid during last year’s Championship survival surge, and Alan Stubbs and Kenny Jackett shunned him this term even though the Millers have the worst defensive record in the Football League.
Belaid joined Rotherham during the reign of Neil Redfearn at the start of this year and played four matches. The 27-year-old’s last outing was in a 2-2 draw at Cardiff City on January 23 when he had to come off injured.
The Millers face QPR tomorrow afternoon at New York Stadium looking to avoid a sixth successive home defeat for the first time in their history. Before this season, they last lost five on the trot in 1996/97 when they were in the old Football League Division Two.
The Tunisian international could be in contention after being on the bench for Warne’s first match at the helm, last Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Burton Albion which left the Millers 13 points adrift of safety.
“I do like good men. I like my team to be people I like because of their work ethic and who they are,” Warne said. “Aimen has been a good lad. I like him. He knows what I think of him.”
“I was considering putting him on at Burton but I am well aware that if you are losing a game and make a centre-half substitution then it might look a bit crazy.
“I apologised to him for that because I should have been a better man and done it anyway.”
Belaid impressed in a second-string game at York City in midweek and will already have been told whether he is in the team for tomorrow’s New York clash.
“He has got family from France who want to watch him play,” Warne added. “If I am going to pick him - I won’t do it with anyone else - I will tell him way in advance because I want his family to come and I want him to perform at his max.”
Loan midfielder Scott Allan is back at parent club Celtic receiving treatment for fluid on the knee and is expected back in Rotherham before Christmas.