Rotherham United manager Paul Warne is hoping that defenders Michael Ihiekwe and Clark Robertson will feature again for the Millers this season when the campaign gets back under way.
The EFL will remain suspended until April 30th at the very earliest, with the FA making the decision to extend the suspension that had been imposed on the professional game in England. The enforced break will remain in place for the health of the staff, players and supporters as the current pandemic sweeps across the United Kingdom.
The break has come at a good time for players with long-term injuries as they could still be able to play a part in the rest of the season when it eventually gets back underway.
Ihiekwe and Robertson are two players who have been missing for Rotherham in recent weeks with both of the defenders picking up injuries that would have sidelined them for a number of weeks heading into the remainder of the season. Former Tranmere defender Ihiekwe was ruled out for six weeks following a knee injury and missed the Millers’ 3-1 defeat to Rochdale.
But the enforced break might mean that both players will be able to play a part in Rotherham’s quest for a swift promotion back into the Championship. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Warne gave an update on Rotherham’s influential defender:
“He (Ihiekwe) went and saw a specialist in London (on Wednesday) and he convinced Iky through a long chat that he does not need the operation and has enough fibres in his knee to withstand.
“It will take eight to 10 weeks rehabilitation and potentially I am hopeful that Iky will be available by the time we kick a ball again. He is walking pain-free, which is a really positive thing and I am pleased on that.”
QUIZ: These 15 players have played for both Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United- True or false?
Robertson has been missing from the side since the 4-0 win over Peterborough United with the centre-half initially being sidelined due to stomach surgery. However, reports suggest that he suffered a setback in his rehabilitation, as he picked up a foot injury that prolonged his return to the Rotherham squad. Warne was hopeful that Robertson will receive the all-clear from the physio when he goes for a scan in the next couple of weeks.
“Robbo is still resting his broken foot. But he has another scan in three to four weeks and if he gets the all-clear from that, he could pick up his training as well.
“Potentially, in four, five, or six weeks time, we will be closer to having a lot of our defenders back.”
Warne will be hoping that these two can play a major role in their bid to win promotion back to the Championship. The Millers currently sit in second place but are five points behind league-leaders Coventry City and two points ahead of third placed Oxford United.
Rotherham have some crucial games between now and the end of the season against fellow promotion chasers as they still have the likes of Wycombe, Portsmouth, Fleetwood and Sunderland to play before the season reaches a conclusion.
The break appears to have come at a good time for Rotherham United on the injury front as the return of Ihiekwe and Robertson could be vital during the busy run-in. Both have been so influential for the Millers this season as they have helped the side get into an automatic promotion place.
Ihiekwe has been a mainstay in the Rotherham side this campaign, making 33 starts, scoring twice and contributing three assists. The former Tranmere man has come to his side’s rescue on many occasions this year.
Robertson has also been a big miss for Rotherham in this year’s campaign. His ability to win aerial duals against some of League One’s most psychical target men has impressed many this campaign.
He has also shown impressive levels on concentration this season, dealing with swift attacking moves which has given Rotherham an opportunity to create waves of attack. The Millers will certainly benefit from having their defenders fit as it will increase performance levels by those in the starting XI, if they know that someone is waiting to take their place from the bench.