Joe Newell talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
After being forced to watch his teammates in Sky Bet Championship action from the sidelines in recent weeks as a result of a groin injury, midfielder Joe Newell insists he has renewed belief that Rotherham United can avoid the drop in 2018/19.
The silky wide man admits that whilst the Millers may have endured a tough run of results lately, he remains confident that they can steer themselves clear from the foot of the second tier table between now and the end of the season if they can rekindle their best form.
“We’ve definitely got a good chance of staying up,” Newell told www.themillers.co.uk.
“It was never going to be an easy season and I think we were always going to go through sticky stages at some point simply because of the quality of teams you come up against.
“I think we've been through a bit of a bad spell, but we keep plugging away and if you would have told us we'd be a place outside the relegation zone with 15 games to go, then we'd have taken that all day long.
“That's with us not playing at our best as well in the last few weeks. We know that if we improve, our results will take care of themselves and we should be okay but I'm more than confident from watching recently that we can stay up.”
After registering minutes and a goal in Tuesday afternoon’s reserve win over Mansfield Town, Newell is finding himself ready to be in the manager’s selection thoughts, having been named on the bench for last weekend’s trip to Millwall.
The former Peterborough United man continued to explain that he has been grateful for the advice of the Millers’ backroom team, who had successfully put a programme together to help steer him clear of an operation.
“I'm back fit and I trained last week, so it's just a case of getting up to speed of being 'match fit' now,” Newell added.
“I trust Ross, Gilps and Gams and the rest of the medical team with their opinions, so when they were happy for me to avoid the operation and go down the strengthening route, I was more than happy to follow that advice.
“It's okay now [groin injury], although I'm not totally clear of it. I've had problems with injuries all season and I was out early in the season with my groin when I missed Villa and a couple of other games.
“I came back and it was spoken about that they could operate on it but the alternative was to try and strengthen it and keep working with it, because otherwise I would have been out for over a month.”
Newell concluded by commenting on the usefulness of the midweek Central League clash at AESSEAL New York Stadium, which allowed a number of returning first team players the opportunity to get some game time.
“That's why the reserve games are important, for me and some of the other lads,” he continued.
“Wilesy has been out for a couple of weeks and it's just good to top up. It was a good run out. The Gaffer got the game on at the stadium and it just makes the atmosphere a bit more 'serious'.
“Sometimes reserve games can be a bit flat, which I think we were first half, but it was good for the lads for it to be at the stadium.”