The heartbreaking memory fuelling Rotherham United's Matt Crooks

Today is a day Rotherham midfielder Matt Crooks will be dreading.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 6:00 am
Rotherham United midfielder Matt Crooks lost his best friend Jordan Sinnott a year ago today

It is one year to the day since his best friend and former Huddersfield team-mate Jordan Sinnott was killed on a night out.

It is one year to the day that his life changed forever.

But at least Crooks was able to make the sombre anniversary in a positive fashion with his two goals in Rotherham's draw with Stoke last week.

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The midfielder, who turned 27 last Wednesday, has vowed to never forget his best friend and has started a charitable foundation in Sinnott's name.

“It's Sin's one-year anniversary on Monday. I tried to score for him, so it was nice to get a couple,” he said after his brace in the 3-3 draw.

“He was on my mind through the game. When it happened last year, I was trying so hard. I hoped today would be a day I could do something for him and luckily I did.

“It does mean the world to me. I have not hidden my feelings about ‘Sin’ and what he meant to me and every goal I do score now is for him and obviously now, it is a bit more poignant at this time of year because it will be a year on Monday.”

The former Northampton man, who has been at the club two years, is beginning to find some form after what he described as an “terrible” start to the season.

Perhaps Sinnott's death played a part in that or perhaps he had his head turned by reported interest from Norwich and Nottingham Forest.

Either way, after a bout of coronavirus, he is back to his best playing in a more attacking number 10 role.

“I'm pleased with my contribution now,” he said. “At the start of the season I was terrible, wasn't I? I don't know why that was.

“Sometimes you just have those dips in form. I had to play my way through it.

“I had a few chats with the staff and was probably beating myself up a little bit.

“I kept working hard in training and trying to have an effect in games.

“I've come out of quarantine, cheered up a bit and played a bit better.”