Influential Stephen Kelly too vital to be rushed back for Rotherham United

INJURED: Rotherham's Stephen Kelly
INJURED: Rotherham's Stephen Kelly
Have your say

Neil Redfearn is refusing to rush defender Stephen Kelly back into the Rotherham United first team.

The Millers travel to Blackburn Rovers on Friday night in the Championship, but 32-year-old Kelly is unlikely to feature.

Since arriving on a free transfer, the former Tottenham and Birmingham City defender helped Rotherham keep clean sheets in his two outings, a 1-0 win at Leeds United and the 3-0 home win over Bristol City.

But a calf injury has kept the Irishman sidelined since the Robins match, and Redfearn does not want to bring him back too quickly and gamble on his fitness.

He could return instead for Tuesday’s Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield Town.

“Steven Kelly (calf) is not far off,” said Redfearn. “Whether he will be fit to face Blackburn, he might be struggling. Hopefully he will be back Tuesday.

“Calves are difficult, once we get him back, that’s it, we don’t want to lose him for another four or five games if we bring him back too early. He’s an important player for us.”

Danny Ward (shin) is also a doubt for the trip to Ewood Park, but left-back Joe Mattock is available.

He said: “Joe is back training again, so that’s a big plus for us. He’s an experienced guy.

“Matt Derbyshire got a kick in training, but I think he will be fine.”