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READ | Warne to assess Ward fitness

20 January 2017

Club News

READ | Warne to assess Ward fitness

20 January 2017

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Paul Warne talks to

Rotherham United interim manager Paul Warne says he will assess the fitness of striker Danny Ward today ahead of the trip to Newcastle United.

Ward missed last weekend's victory over Norwich City with a back problem, but could make his return for tomorrow's Championship showdown at St. James' Park.

Warne told Millers Player HD yesterday that he is hopeful that his top scorer will train today, before a decision will be made whether to include the ex-Huddersfield front-man in his starting 11.

"He has a chance," said Warne.

"He felt a bit better yesterday, and he felt good today (Thursday). He didn't train with the squad today (Thursday) but it is our intention to let him train with the squad tomorrow. 

"He will do some individual work with me as well, so we will have a look at him and then make a decision. As I stand here now, I honestly believe that he will be in the squad, whether I'll start him or stick with Jerry (Yates), I don't know yet."

With fellow striker Dexter Blackstock also out with a tight hamstring, Warne was left with youngster Yates for last weekend's visit of Norwich.

Despite lacking in first-team experience, the Academy product produced a performance which belied his tender years, scoring his first league goal in the 2-1 success.

Warne admitted that Yates' man-of-the-match display has given him a selection conundrum, but also revealed that if Ward proves his fitness, he is likely to go with experience for the Millers' first league visit to St. James' Park since 1983.

"I think if Wardy would have trained all week, I would have put him back in," Warne added.

"As brilliant as Jerry was against Norwich, unfortunately for him he is probably behind the best player in the team. That's difficult but he'll get his chance, because he has proved how well he can play. It is a good problem for me to have. I make no apologies in saying that Wardy is our best attacking outlet, so if I can have a fully fit Danny Ward then I'll use him."

Lee Frecklington and Lee Camp remain sidelined for the Millers through injury, but Warne has hinted that Celtic loanee Scott Allan could return to his matchday squad after improved performances in training this week.

New signing Richard O'Donnell will be involved in the matchday squad for the first time.

Newcastle are likely to make changes from the side that beat Birmingham City in the FA Cup in midweek, with boss Rafa Benitez resting a number of key players from last Saturday's victory over Brentford at Griffin Park.

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