TOP-SCORER Daniel Nardiello has launched a passionate defence of beleaguered Rotherham United striker Alex Revell, describing his teammate as the “unsung hero” of their promotion challenge.
Cambridge-born Revell has bagged just one goal since October 20 and hit the back of the net just four times in 38 appearances this season. He was taken off after 56 minutes of the Millers 3-0 defeat to Cheltenham Town last weekend. Boss Steve Evans has promised to make personnel changes ahead of the home double-header with Exeter City and AFC Wimbledon. As part of the shake up, Revell could drop to the bench if Evans decides to give Kayode Odejayi a chance to lead the attack.
A popular figure in Rotherham’s dressing room, Revell has, in recent months, been deployed as a lone striker, with Nardiello cutting in to support him from the left flank. It is a formation which has brought joy on the Millers travels since the turn of the year but has proved less effective on home soil.
Some Rotherham fans have questioned Revell’s contribution, at times, during the 2012-13 season but Nardiello insists he has played a key role in their top-three charge.
“Alex is the unsung hero of our team and played a massive part in our season,” Nardiello told The Star. “Although he has not scored loads of goals, he does a lot of stuff off the ball and creates chances for the rest of the team.
“If Alex plays well, then the team does.
“As far as I am concerned, I don’t think I would have scored a lot of my goals if Alex wasn’t playing. He brings so much to the team defensively and going forward. His strength, flick ons and work rate is crucial to us.”
Nardiello, who took his tally to 18 for the season with his brace at Wycombe Wanderers last week, added: “Alex is fantastic to work off. He’s one of the best in the league for doing what he does.”
Former Welsh international Nardiello, seeking to add a third promotion to his CV, is closing in on his 20-goal target. He is pleased to have cemented his spot in the starting line-up.
“Towards the start of the season, I was in and out of the team a lot,” he admitted. “I am happy to be playing now. If I am not playing, I get very frustrated but if the team are winning and I am still not playing, I have got no arguments.”
He added: “I prefer playing up front. It’s been frustrating not to have played more centrally. I have played more games this season coming in from the left hand side. Maybe, if I got a few more games up front, I would have got a few more goals.”
Kari Arnason is available for selection, having served a two-match suspension for his red card versus Dagenham.