Rotherham United: Will Vaulks in a hurry to impress Millers boss Kenny Jackett

Will Vaulks on the ball at Ipswich
Will Vaulks on the ball at Ipswich
Have your say

Midfield man Will Vaulks is hoping he has fast-tracked his way into favour with the manager who readily admits he knows little about him.

Vaulks, who had spent all his senior career with Falkirk before joining the Millers in the summer, was a relative unknown to Kenny Jackett when the 54-year-old took over as boss of Rotherham United two weeks ago,

But the midfielder, 23, was a man-of-the-match contender when he was called up for last week’s 2-2 draw at Ipswich Town and could be in contention for another Championship start, at home to Preston North End on Saturday.

“I was very pleased with the gaffer giving me the nod,” said Vaulks who was handed his opportunity as skipper Lee Frecklington was missing with an ankle injury.

“The manager has been very honest with me. He says he doesn’t know much about me. So it was kind of ‘start again’ for me.

“I was happy to do it and I’m grateful that, just from the few training sessions he’s seen, he’s shown enough faith and given me a chance. Hopefully, I repaid him with an all right performance.”

Vaulks - an unused substitute in Jackett’s first match in charge, against Reading - was a combative presence in the middle of the park at Portman Road along with Dominic Ball who was a 35th-minute replacement when Greg Halford succumbed to a calf problem.

Jackett said: “I like Will. Early days. I haven’t worked with him before or seen too much of him, with him coming down from Scotland.

“He competed very well, as did Dominic when he came on. They acquitted themselves very well.”

The Star understands former West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday and Milton Keynes defender Jordan Spence, 26, a free agent after leaving Stadium MK at the end of last season, has been training with the Millers.

Jordan Spence

Jordan Spence

Vaulks revealed there has been more focus on defensive work on the training ground since Jackett replaced sacked Alan Stubbs who left Rotherham at the foot of the second tier after 14 games having conceded more goals than any other side in the Football League.

“To be fair, it’s the polar opposite, so it’s been a big change,” the player said. “We’ve done a lot of shape work and trying to get ourselves organised and stop conceding. I think it’s working. We look more dangerous and we’re hanging on in games better than we have done.

When asked if there had been more attacking emphasis in Stubbs’ sessions, he replied: “Yeah, slightly. We obviously did try do that (the defending) under Alan Stubbs as well, but the manager here has really put his mark on it and the way he wants to do it.

“We’re all buying into it. He’s very experienced. You can see from the sides he’s put out already that he wants to go with a bit more experience, which is probably what we need at the moment to just get ourselves picking up a few points.”

Wood steps up for Jackett