MANAGER Andy Scott has explained the reasoning behind his bold gamble to leave out top scorer Lewis Grabban although the decision had a spectacularly successful outcome for Rotherham United.
Grabban, with 15 goals the joint second-top scorer in League Two, was put on the bench ahead of Friday’s excellent 2-0 win at Southend United.
In his place came Shaun Harrad after joining on loan from Bury last week and he marked his debut with the opening goal after just nine minutes.
“Lewis took the decision well, he’s a good lad, I speak a lot to him but I have to make decisions and I felt it was the right one although leaving out your top scorer is a luxury we’ve not had before,” said Scott.
“I felt Lewis was getting a little bit frustrated with himself. He’d only scored once in open play in the past couple of months and it was getting to the point where it was eating away at him.
“It was no reflection on him really. He moved up here when he signed, he wants to do well and he’s played over 30 games which is the first time he’s played so many in a season.
“Sometimes you need to take a step back, relax and you can see things a little bit clearer from the sideline.
“The pressure is now off him a little bit. He is, actually, still relatively new to professional football and the fact that he was supposed to be getting all the goals puts that weight on your shoulders and it can be difficult.”
The Millers boss said he would benefit from the break and be ready to go back in.
And he added: “Lewis Grabban has a massive part to play at this football club. I know that and he knows that.”
There has been some speculation that recent interest from other clubs, notably Crawley who made a bid, may have had an unsettling effect on Grabban, who came on for the final half-hour at Southend and might have had a goal as Rotherham secured a win which put them three points off the play-offs.
It is likely that he will be on the bench for tomorrow’s home game with Accrington Stanley with the Millers increasingly confident the game will be on in view of the rising temperatures.
Scott said he was confident Harrad would make an impact although he hadn’t played for some time.
“It’s a credit to Bury and (manager) Richie Barker that, although Shaun hasn’t been playing, they have kept him fit enough to have enabled him to play the full 90 minutes when he came to us,” said Scott.
“Sometimes clubs will concentrate on those in the team and not do much with those out of it. He took his goal extremely well, the improvisation required with the ball going across his body - it was instinctive and it’s what goalscorers are able to do.”