Rotherham United await clearance on key man for crunch clash

Rotherham are sweating on the fitness of goalkeeper Viktor Johansson for Saturday's crunch game against Blackburn.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 29th April 2021, 4:22 pm
Rotherham Manager Paul Warne with his keeper Viktor Johansson.  Pic Steve Ellis
Rotherham Manager Paul Warne with his keeper Viktor Johansson. Pic Steve Ellis

The Swedish goalkeeper suffered a head injury after a challenge from Barnsley striker Carlton Morris went unpunished in the build-up to the only goal of the game.

He missed Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Brentford and is still going through concussion protocol, making him a doubt for the game against Blackburn, which could decide Rotherham's fate this season.

After five defeats in a row, the Millers will be relegated back to League One if they lose and Derby beat Swansea.

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Jamal Blackman, who played at Brentford, is ready to deputise again and boss Paul Warne will not risk Johansson if there are any concerns at all with his stopper.

“He might be available for the weekend, he has to go through protocols but that is out of my control I am not going to take a player's health at risk,” Warne said.

“I thought Jamal was good at Brentford, did everything we asked, made a couple of saves. If Viktor isn't 100 per cent then he won't play.”

It could be the end of the road for the Millers in their long fight against the drop on Saturday.

Plenty has gone against Warne's side this season, not least two outbreaks of coronavirus in the squad which caused a raft of postponements.

That has led to a punishing backlog of fixtures, which will see the Millers play 14 games in six weeks.

The Millers have had plenty of goodwill from other clubs in the division, and Warne takes heart in that.

“It means a lot that people are rooting for us because people don’t root for bad people,” he said.

“We’ve had few injustices, but they are inspiring the lads to go on and that’s what’s keeping them going. I can’t knock the lads’ effort and I was very proud of them.

“We’ve had games recently where we’ve been excellent and should have come away with points.

I feel for my group and myself that we haven’t got just rewards but we will go to the end.”