Paul Warne talks to www.themillers.co.uk...Rotherham United interim boss Paul Warne admits he could be without club captain Lee Frecklington and top scorer Danny Ward for tonight’s South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday.
The Millers take on the Owls in the televised encounter on Tuesday night, but Warne may be forced to field a lineup missing two of his key players.
The caretaker boss was also forced to drop Ben Purrington to the bench on Saturday due to a hamstring injury and admits that he would be pleased to have just one of the trio available to him for the clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
“Frecks and Wardy are a major doubt and Purrington has got a dead leg,” Warne told www.themillers.co.uk.
“He should be okay hopefully, so out of the three, if I can get one of them back I'll be pleased but at the moment, they're all pretty doubtful.”
The Millers’ chief was dealt a blow when Frecklington limped off in the clash with Fulham at the weekend and says based on the early assessment that it is unlikely he will feature against the club’s local rivals.
“I've seen his leg and it doesn't look to precautionary and it's like a big egg,” Warne continued.
“I think he might have got some bone bruising so it's the same pain as if you break your leg, which isn't so great.
“It's disappointing for Frecks, because he's started to get himself back to the level we're used to but hopefully it will only be a short-term thing. In the ideal world he'd still be available for Tuesday night, but I'm not sure.”
However, there is a chance two former Owls could meet with their old employers tonight as Richard Wood looks set for a full return to the action, while fellow defender Joe Mattock has served his suspension.
Warne admitted that Wood was perhaps ready to be reintroduced to the first team fold at the weekend but having benefitted from a couple of days extra training, will be in contention to be involved tonight.
“I think he was fully fit for Saturday really,” he explained.
“Physically he was probably there but mentally the game came about two days too early. He's had a couple of extra days training in him and I'll assess him like I will with everyone on the pitch and see what I think from there.
“Obviously it's the same with Joe Mattock, in that they're both ex-Wednesday boys and both available to be involved. They both want to be involved in the game so they will play some part.”
Having been unable to field a natural left-footer in the defence on Saturday and opting to slot the returning Darnell Fisher in the vacant position, Warne explained his reasons for placing Purrington on the bench, whilst admitting that he was more than happy with the performance of the make-shift left back.
“With Ben his hammy was a little bit sore. We've done a lot of work over the last couple of weeks in the international break and probably gave him a bit too much volume possibly,” he continued.
“He was a bit sore and a bit of a risk but Fisher was back and he's done well for us at full back, as has Vaulks so it was an easy decision to put Fish at left back.
“He did brilliantly at Norwich when he played there earlier in the season so I knew it wasn't too much of a decision and I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks with Ben but obviously at the end I had to bring him on.
“It's a massive game of chess just moving my pawns and castles around the pitch but tomorrow night, hopefully I'll have the majority of my team fit."