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READ | Barker pleased with management of pre-season workload

20 July 2017

Richie Barker talks to

A sensible approach to managing any pre-season knocks is paying dividends so far for Rotherham United.

The Millers go into Friday night's game with Sheffield United with no major pre-season injury scares, as boss Paul Warne and his staff look to up the tempo ahead of their season curtain raiser at Fleetwood Town on August 5th.

A process of caution to any muscle tightness and knocks have prevented any further damage to the likes of Anthony Forde and Alex Bray, with assistant manager Richie Barker confirming a similar approach was taken with Jon Taylor at Alfreton on Tuesday night as he was withdrawn for the final 12 minutes as a precaution.

"Jon just said his calf started to get a little tight at half-time," Barker told

"The one thing that we have reiterated to the players, and it has been a real positive that they have all bought into it over pre-season, is that if there is any slight twinges or issues that they get taken straight off.

"We think that by missing half of a session or half of a game, but then being back available within 24 or 48 hours, is far better than pushing people and then they miss a week.

"I think that is being sensible and that lads have all bought into that. That was just one of the things with Tayls, his calf was starting to get tight, we brought him off and we think he'll be okay and involved again on Friday evening against Sheffield United."

That approach also saw goalkeeper Lewis Price rested for the games on Tuesday night.

The former Crystal Palace and Ipswich stopper picked up a knock out in Austria, and whist it isn't a serious injury, Barker confirmed the rest will have long-term benefits to the Welshman.

Price's absence gave an opportunity to young Laurence Bilboe, who did his reputation no harm after clinching a clean sheet.

"It was a fantastic experience for Laurence and he kept a clean sheet which was good," Barker added.

"Unfortunately for Lewis he got a knock off Kieffer Moore in Austria, that swelled up on the flight. After we tried him in the morning it wasn't quite right so we kept him out.

"It was a great chance for young Laurence, and he'll be happy with that. It wasn't as if he had nothing to do, he was busy and he listened because we have worked with him about his distribution and he has bought into that really well."​

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