Rotherham striker Freddie Ladapo relishing battle for a starting spot with Michael Smith.

Rotherham striker Freddie Ladapo is relishing his battle for a starting spot with Michael Smith.

Sunday, 14th March 2021, 12:19 pm

Ladapo, 28, has been restricted to the bench for much of the last few weeks as Smith has enjoyed his best spell of form of this season, but last time out the club's record signing made a name for himself.

After Smith had been sent off in the South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday Ladapo came on and scored a last-minute winner – his sixth league goal of the season – to send himself into club folklore.

It looked like he would be set for a run of games in the side with Smith suspended, but a three-match ban was rescinded by the Football Association.

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Angus MacDonald, Freddie Ladapo and Viktor Johansson of Rotherham United.
Angus MacDonald, Freddie Ladapo and Viktor Johansson of Rotherham United.

That seems a long time ago, as the Millers have had their last three games called off due to a coronavirus outbreak in the camp.

They are due to return to action on Tuesday against Watford and former Crystal Palace and Plymouth Argyle marksman Ladapo is up for the battle.

“I love competition. I love competition when you get your chance to show what you can do as well,” he said.

"Last year, it was quite enjoyable because we were both going at it. He'd score and I'd score.

"I enjoy having that bit of fight because it drives you on to be better. If you're not good enough, you won't get as many minutes on the pitch."

The Millers have had to hit reset on their season for the second time following a second outbreak of Covid-19.

After the first one over Christmas, Paul Warne's side produced their best run of form upon the resumption to climb out of the bottom three.

They resume this time back in the relegation zone, but just three points behind Birmingham with four games in hand.

They have also played three matches fewer than Sheffield Wednesday, who are one place below them in the table and could begin next season in the third tier for the first time since the 2011/12 season.

A frantic period of fixtures are coming up for the Millers, who must fit 14 games in a seven-week period.