Rotherham United: How fit-again Potter suffered for Millers cause

Darren Potter
Darren Potter
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Darren Potter played through the pain barrier for Rotherham United to such a degree that it affected his home life.

The midfield man gritted his teeth and kept going despite a heel injury as the Millers climbed the League One table.

Lee Frecklington

Lee Frecklington

But manager Paul Warne knew he had to take him out of the firing line three games ago when the player was struggling with everyday family tasks.

“When I spoke to him the other weekend, he said he was driving his wife and kids around and he was in pain then,” said Warne of the 32-year-old who returns to the team at home to Gillingham on Saturday.

“That’s not right. I expect lads to be in pain when they’re playing and take pain-killers and help the team, but not when you’re away from the football club, You shouldn’t be in pain then. No chance.

“He’d kindly been playing like that. We’ve taken this opportunity to give him his rest and recovery and hopefully he should be fine now for the rest of the season.”

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

The manager, who revealed captain and midfielder Lee Frecklington will be sidelined with his back issue until mid-November, is delighted to welcome back Potter to the first-team fold after an injection cured his achilles problem.

“He would be important to any team,” Warne said. “He allows the front five to go and play. He’s a born winner and leader.

“When we had the 20-minute wobble last Saturday (3-3 draw at Oxford United), we could have done with him out there. He and Woody (centre-half Richard Wood) would have calmed the ship.

“It’s not just about what he does on the ball. His communicative skills and the fact he’s an experienced player make a difference to this young team. His achilles had been sore for a few weeks. He had an injection to calm it down. He’s got no pain in it at all now.”

Potter is one of three players, along with centre-half Michael Ihiekwe and left-back Joe Mattock, one yellow card away from the five-bookings mark which triggers a one-match ban.

The FA confirmed to the Star that their records show 11-goal loan striker Kieffer Moore is on three cautions, not four.

Warne had been planning to speak to Mick McCarthy, boss of parent club Ipswich Town, this week about Moore’s future but decided against it when the Tractor Boys lost the East Anglia derby against Norwich City last Sunday.

The centre-forward is due to spend the season at AESSEAL New York Stadium. However, Ipswich could recall him in the January transfer window.

“I haven’t had a chat with Mick,” Warne said. “They lost against Norwich, which is a big deal down there, so I thought it would be wrong to bother him.

“Plus, I watched the game and it looked like Ipswich could have done with Kieffer in the last 15 minutes! I didn’t want that issue to raise its ugly head!”

A non-league trialist played for Rotherham’s reserve side at right-back in their 2-1 defeat at Port Vale on Wednesday.

“He’s trained a couple of day here and done okay,” Warne said. “We’ll probably have a look at him in a couple more games.”

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