Rotherham United: Millers No 2 Richie Barker on Richard Wood, Ben Heneghan, Matt Palmer and Caolan Lavery
Captain Richard Wood was today backed to keep giving everything for the Rotherham United cause despite speculation linking him with a move to Chesterfield.
The centre-half is set to lead the Millers against Portsmouth in tomorrow’s battle at AESSEAL New York Stadium between two League One play-off contenders.
Rotherham assistant boss Richie Barker has no doubt that Wood will be up for the clash and says he hopes the 32-year-old is still at the club when the January transfer window closes.
“I am 100 per cent confident he will be in the right frame of mind. His attitude this week has been absolutely excellent,” Barker said. “I don’t see any change in Richard Wood over the last few days.
“He’s got to the level he has by doing things right. I’d like to see him stay beyond the end of the window.”
A loan deal to bring Sheffield United central defender Ben Heneghan to New York, which might allow Wood to join the League Two Spireites, has been discussed.
But Barker added: “Woody will be playing a part in tomorrow’s game and will be playing a part on Tuesday night (at home to Bradford City). As far as I’m concerned, after that he will continue to keep doing that.”
Barker didn’t give direct answers to questions about possible Millers interest in Burton Albion midfielder Matt Palmer and Blades striker Caolan Lavery.
On Palmer, he said: “I think Burton Albion have got a few players who aren’t involved. We’ve got contacts at the football club. They’re a Championship club. We’re trying to make this club better by bringing in better players.
“I would imagine, at some point, we are going to be linked with three Burton players. If he’s not in the squad, he’s going to be mentioned.”
Rotherham have made an offer running well into six figures for a central midfielder in the second tier and negotiations are continuing.
Lavery has been told he can leave Bramall Lane on loan and Barker believes Rotherham would be seen as a sensible destination by any of South Yorkshire’s Championship sides looking to send out players until the end of the season.
“As soon as players become available at Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday or Barnsley, it’s probably natural there will be conversations about us taking them,” he said.
“It suits everybody. It’s easy for the parent club to keep an eye on their player. You don’t have the issues of people moving house or being unsettled and moving their family about for a loan. If Sheffield United have surplus players and we’ve had a conversation with them, it’s no surprise to me.”
When asked directly if there had been a conversation between the Blades and Rotherham specifically about Lavery, Barker replied: “He’s still a Sheffield United player. It would be unfair for us to comment about a Sheffield United player.”
The Millers head into tomorrow’s game looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches.