Millers boss will hope he avoids this hat-trick!

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IF Rotherham United manager Andy Scott completes a rather unlikely ‘hat-trick’ at Vale Park tomorrow, then it will suggest further defensive problems.

For in the last two games, Scott has taken off a central defender for something other than injury. It is rare for players in such key positions to be removed two weeks on the trot - Ryan Cresswell was taken off at Torquay and Troy Brown was substituted last Saturday.

But it is who gets the nod in centre defence against Micky Adams’ Port Vale tomorrow that has been focusing the mind of the Millers manager this week.

He saw Johnny Mullins return to action last Saturday for the final 25 minutes but Scott insisted yesterday that he has Mullins - just back after five months out - in mind for the Sheffield United game next Tuesday and doesn’t want to force him to play two big games so quickly.

“He didn’t play in the reserves on Wednesday because I didn’t want a situation where he played then, was involved tomorrow and then having to play on Tuesday,” said Scott.

Brown will be missing next Tuesday (and for the home game with Burton four days later) because of international duty with Wales U21s.

“Johnny is ready and desperate to play but we don’t want him to overdo it,” he said. “I have tried very hard to bring someone in this week but nothing materialised,” added Scott who had Brown playing right back in the reserves’ 2-1 win at Hull this week.

Scott, who was signed from Sheffield United by Micky Adams for Brentford in late 1997, says he is contemplating changes after last week’s 4-0 home setback.

“But I consider changes whether we’ve won, drawn or lost but we can’t keep having to score three or four to win games,” he said.

Vale welcome back last season’s top scorer Marc Richards after a three-match ban. and will include Tom Pope who has three goals so far.