Smallwood hoping for Wembley appearance...
“You can get used to playing in front of big crowds with lots of noise in good stadiums, but nothing can compare to Wembley.”
That’s the sentiments of midfielder Richie Smallwood who will be hoping to walk out at Wembley on Sunday hoping to help elevate the Millers into the Championship.
The Redcar-born midfielder, 23, played 13 games for his hometown club Middlesbrough before joining the Millers on loan this season admits he will be fulfilling a lifelong dream if selected by Steve Evans for the game.
“As a kid you watch all the finals with the best atmospheres and you never expect to actually have a chance to be there and a part of it and we’ve got a really good squad here so you can’t take for granted being in the team.”
It may be the boyhood dream for the combative midfielder, but like the manager, Smallwood has expressed a need for normality this week.
“It’s just a normal week for me, I’ll go home on my day off as I normally would and then be back down here to work hard in the last part of the week and get myself ready for Sunday. Everything goes through your head during the week but you’ve just got to keep yourself together and strive for it to be you and your team that’s up on the balcony collecting the prize at the end.”
A red card given to him by this Sunday’s referee Mr. Coote meant that Richie missed three games at the end of the season, but he was ready for his return to the fold for the crucial second-leg of the semi-final playing a key role in the Millers’ 3-1 success over Preston North End.
“It was a good night for everyone really and a great occasion to be a part of. While I was off I’ve been working hard, training hard and doing some extra running in the gym, meaning that if I was called upon I’d be ready and fortunately I was called back into the side and I was ready to transfer that work onto the pitch.”