Rotherham United: How Matt Crooks defied doctors' orders to star against Fleetwood

Rotherham boss Paul Warne revealed how Matt Crooks defied doctors' orders to climb off his sick bed and help his side to a point against Fleetwood.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 10:10 am
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 11:18 am
Matt Crooks

Not only did the midfielder play out of position in a defensive three, he also scored the equalising goal in a 2-2 draw, all after being kept away from the rest of the team due to an aggressive bout of sickness and diarrhoea.

He was forced to get changed in a separate dressing room, but it was needs must for the Millers as illness and injury left them depleted in defence and midfield.

“Crooksy, bless him, has been changing in the other changing room," Warne said. "It's like he's in quarantine.

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"He didn't see any of the coaching staff really because of how ill he is. We were told not to play him but, in fairness to him, he lasted.

"He came in today and saw the doctor. The doc wasn't keen on him playing but it was needs must. If Crooksy hadn't played I'm not really sure what we would have done.

"He had severe diarrhoea for 24 hours, I don't know why it's making me smile.

"He's absolutely exhausted. He's done well, hasn't he?"

With Clark Robertson only fit for the bench with a similar illness, Richard Wood and Billy Jones injured and Michael Ihiekwe a late withdrawal Warne had no option but to play Crooks at centre-half.

That further depleted his midfield options as Shaun MacDonald and Jamie Lindsay were injured, meaning Ben Wiles had to play through an ankle injury of his own.

Ihiekwe's late injury on Friday meant Warne quickly had to reshuffle his plans

"We'd had only half an hour on the training pitch on Friday with that system," Warne said. "We'd thought Michael Ihiekwe was going to be available but he wasn't.

"We played a 4-3-1-2 formation because we thought we could get Kyle Vassell on the ball. That didn't happen at all.

"Crooksy's not a centre-half. We thought that by having Adam Thompson on one side of him and Joe Mattock on the other it would made us a bit more solid.

"We'd worked all week on playing 4-4-2 with two out-and-out wingers and going for it. That got kiboshed when Icky was ruled out.”

Warne will hope the bout of sickness clears up in time for Boxing Day's trip to Shrewsbury.