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READ | Training has been really good this week - Wood

19 November 2021

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“I actually think Monday and Tuesday is the best I've ever seen the group train.” Was the direct quote from Millers boss Paul Warne in his pre-Cambridge United press and is a sentiment firmly backed up by skipper Richard Wood – who has also seen his fair share of training sessions at Roundwood.

Anyone who thought the Millers would be taking their foot off the guess during the international break, would be gravely mistaken.

Whilst the squad – or at least those not away representing their nations - did enjoy a couple of days’ down time, the evergreen skipper insists that they have come back firing on all cylinders this week ahead of Saturday’s return to Sky Bet League One action against Cambridge United.

"To be fair though - and even the gaffer has said it - training this week has been really good,” Wood reaffirmed.

"It was as good as that. There were all-round good bits of play. We did a lot of 1 v 1s and the attackers' finishing was very, very good.

"Mixed in with that was really good defending, from me obviously! The intensity in training was good and the standards were sky high.

“The lads are flying and confidence is good and we want to keep our performances to a high level for as long as possible.

"The squad is pretty healthy at the moment, which means now more than ever, if you don't train well, you won't play. The gaffer has explained that again and that is how we are anyway.

"If you relax in training, you'll stand out because everyone else is at it.

"Cambridge played at the weekend and in midweek, so they haven't taken their foot off the throttle. We need to make sure we're sharp. The sessions the staff put on make us work and the lads have reacted to it well.”

Now 13-unbeaten in all competitions, the Millers will be looking to extend that streak this weekend but will have to overcome a Cambridge United side enjoying their return to the third tier to do so.

When quizzed on whether the record means anything to the skipper personally, Wood admitted that clean sheets remain his number one priority, but is keen to see how far the unbeaten stretch can last.

"We want to keep the run going. I think the international break came at the wrong time in respect of that because we wanted to keep the momentum going,” he continued.

"I want to keep going as long as possible on the unbeaten run. The run is good but I, personally, am really happy with our defensive record and our clean sheets.

"We haven't conceded many goals and we don't allow a lot of shots in games and I want that to keep rolling on. While ever that happens, it is a bedrock for us as a team to have success."

Meanwhile, the mood in the Millers camp has been further buoyed by the return of the international heroes – namely Chiedozie Ogbene – who not only shut out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal World Cup Qualifying but added another goal to his name for the Republic of Ireland.

Wood, who is a key figure in the Roundwood dressing room, admitted that whilst Ogbene has been the subject of some friendly banter about his new ‘big time’ attitude, it has been great to see his teammates making a name for themselves on the international stage.

"It's not even banter! Everyone is really pleased for Chieo because what he has done is some achievement,” he laughed when asked about the jibes the Ireland winger had been the subject of.

“What he is doing at the moment is really good and fair play to him, he's worked hard at his game. He might get a little bit of stick from the lads about being big-time but he loves it and he's come in with a massive smile on his face and confidence-wise he'll take that into his games with us, which is what we want.

"The gaffer put his goal on in the meeting and we had a laugh and joke about it and he's come in bouncing. It's nice to see and it definitely rubs off on us because as a team, we've international players raising the standards.

"If he can perform like he has been for Ireland, then we're flying.”

Wood concluded by adding that whilst he does love the cut and thrust of games coming thick and fast, a rest has once again helped the recharge the batteries ahead of the busy Christmas period.

"As much as I love playing games, I have to admit it is nice for my body to have a little rest,” he explained.

“Games are intense now with Saturday and Tuesday matches throughout December and it is going to be hard but I'm certainly feeling good at the moment.”

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