Michael Smith talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Striker Michael Smith is raring for a return tomorrow against Nottingham Forest after putting his recent illness issues firmly to bed.
The ex-Swindon ace was struck down with heavy flu and a fever during the back end of last week, with boss Paul Warne confirming his inclusion amongst the subs at Derby was merely a ruse to keep his opposite number guessing.
After a weekend of rest, the popular front-man was back to his old self this week, with Warne confirming in his pre-match press that the marksman has been given a clean bill of health ahead of tomorrow’s showdown with Martin O’Neill’s Reds.
He told www.themillers.co.uk: “I'm back to normal now. I was bed-bound Thursday after training last week, and then again all day on the Friday. I'm okay now, so looking forward to the weekend.
“There isn't a lot you can do when you are struck down, everyone has experienced something similar. You just have to make sure you get the rest.
Smith suffered a broken nose during the Millers’ successful promotion campaign last season, with the 27-year-old confirming the after effects of the injury can make it difficult should he succumb to a bug.
Smith said: “When I broke my nose last year, my septum bent inside which sometimes can make it difficult to breathe. When I get an illness it obviously can become a problem, I was in bed with a fever as well so I was hot one minute, and cold the next. I just wasn't in a position to train or play, but it has passed now and I'm back to normal and looking forward to the remaining seven games.”
The towering frontman has been playing through injury in recent weeks after breaking his little toe, but the problem has been dismissed by the robust operator who says a combination of adrenaline and treatment from the medical team has allowed him to play freely for Warne’s hard-working side.
He added: “I have been playing with the toe problem, but to be honest it has been fine, it is just one of those things. There's nothing you can really do for an injured toe, I wanted an x-ray for my own peace of mind, but the physios would treat it the same way whether it was broken or not. During a matchday especially, adrenaline usually gets you through alone, but I'll also put some special gel on the area which will numb it for 45 minutes, and then it'll be the same process at half-time. That really helps. With it being my little toe, it doesn't really have any impact, so in that sense I have been quite fortunate.”
The Wallsend-born forward has been a valuable member of Warne’s outfit, ever since his arrival from Bury in January 2017.
Smith has been handed the difficult task of leading the line for the Millers in a lone capacity, but it has been a role in which has applied himself to great effect against some of English football’s leading lights.
Up until last weekend’s game at Derby, Smith had started 37 of Rotherham’s 38 Championship encounters, coming off the bench in the other – away at tomorrow’s visitors Forest.
Not being involved at Pride Park ended a proud record, leaving Smith itching for a recall to Warne’s starting 11.
He continued: “I was saying on the Friday how gutted I was because my appearance record was gone. It was just one of those things, since then I have just worked as hard as possible to put myself into contention for a place in the team for the Forest game.
“They (Forest) aren't far from the Play-offs, they will be fighting tooth and nail, just like we will, for the points. It is time of the season now when you can see the finishing line, both teams know the importance of their situations. We'll be fully focused, and we go into the game with the belief that if we play the way we can, we can beat anyone in this league, especially on home soil.”