Rotherham United: Steve Evans rematch as Millers sweat on Danny Ward fitness
Rotherham United are assessing the fitness of Danny Ward after another setback in the injury-blighted season of the striker rated so highly by boss Neil Redfearn.
The attacker limped out of last Saturday’s clash against Wolves in the 12th minute and the club’s medical team are hard at work on the 23-year-old attacker this week.
Redfearn, who last night saw the Millers paired with old boss Steve Evans and Leeds United in the FA Cup third round, said: “He got caught on the ankle but it rocked his knee as he went down.”
Ward could be facing his third spell on the sidelines since Rotherham began their Championship campaign in August.
Redfearn believes the forward has the potential to be a prolific scorer even though he hasn’t netted in his 12 matches so far this term.
“Danny can play wide or down the middle. He is still a young guy and people tend to forget that,” he said.
“He is a really talented player and he probably doesn’t realise how good he is.
“It’s up to me as a manager and coach to make him realise what he is capable of because on his day he could potentially be a 20-odd-goal-a-season man with his ability.”
Ward’s early withdrawal against the West Midlands visitors hit a Rotherham starting 11 already without defenders Stephen Kelly, Farrend Rawson and Joe Mattock and striker Leon Best,
“We have not got a big squad and it affects what you can do off the bench,” Redfearn said after his side’s 2-1 defeat. “We haven’t got the quality or strength in depth to have that many players out.”
Ward, who turns 24 on Friday, missed a month early in the season and then hurt his back in the warm-up before Redfearn’s first match in charge, against Brentford on October 17, and was out for three games.
Meanwhile, Rotherham will go to Leeds, where Redfearn was head coach last season, on the weekend of January 9 and 10.
They have already won there in the league, having triumphed 1-0 against former manager Evans last month through a Joe Newell header.
The Millers are in action on Friday night at Blackburn Rovers, where a point would see them climb out of the drop zone, and are hoping Republic of Ireland international Kelly is fit to return after a calf problem.
“The idea is to get a settled back four and keep it out there,” Redfearn said.
“But we lose Kelly and then Rawson and it does not help.”
Centre-half Rawson is out for around a fortnight after having a minor operation on his groin, but left-back Mattock is in contention to start at Ewood Park after recovering from his hamstring trouble.
Best will serve the final game of his three-match suspension against his old club, Rovers, and will be available for next Tuesday’s trip to Huddersfield Town.