Rotherham United: Why striker Clarke-Harris was missing for Millers

Jonson Clarke-Harris
Jonson Clarke-Harris
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Jonson Clarke-Harris looks to have fallen to the back of the Rotherham United striker queue after failing to make the squad for League One opening day.

The centre-forward had started games or been among the substitutes in the latter part of last term’s Championship relegation campaign after recovering from knee surgery.

But manager Paul Warne chose to leave the 23-year-old at home for the Millers’ first match of the 2017/18 season, a 2-0 defeat at Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

The boss selected Jamie Proctor, David Ball, Kieffer Moore and Jerry Yates ahead of Clarke-Harris who signed a new one-year contract in the summer.

Warne confirmed the attacker wasn’t injured and was terse when asked about the player’s absence.

“I didn’t choose to bring him,” he said. “I’ve got five strikers and brought four. He is the one I didn’t bring.”

Midfielder Darren Potter had been expected to start at Highbury Stadium but the summer was only among the substitutes for Rotherham who entertain league newcomers Lincoln City in the opening round of the Carabao Cup tomorrow night.

A bout of tonsillitis in the build-up to the Fleetwood match ruled him out of the starting line-up.

“He was sick at the start of the week. He had been ill for three days,” Warne said. “It was always going to be a high-tempo game at the start and that is why he didn’t start.”

Even before Saturday’s loss, Warne was planning to alter his side for the cup clash and Clarke-Harris and Potter could find themselves in contention to face City.

“It won’t be wholesale to the whole 11 but there will be changes,” the manager said. “We need to get into the winning habit.

“You have to play players when they are hot, but at the same time I have to bear in mind we have another game (at home to Southend in the league next Saturday) four days afterwards.”

The Millers fell to two goals from Conor McAlney against Fleetwood after being denied a 13th-minute lead when Lee Frecklington turned in Will Vaulks’ shot only for the effort to be ruled out by a debatable offside decision.

“I have seen it back. It looks very close,” Warne said. “The angle from my analyst is at the halfway line, so it is difficult to see.

“I looked at the linesman straight away - it’s human nature to look - and he didn’t flag, then he spoke to the ref and he put his flag up, so it was disappointing.”

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