Rotherham United: ‘I didn’t know how to celebrate’ admits Wes Harding

AS far as Wes Harding is concerned, the training ground jibes are now over.

Millers celebrate Wes Harding's opening goal.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Millers celebrate Wes Harding's opening goal. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The Rotherham United defender did not just score his maiden strike in a Millers jersey on Tuesday night – halfway through his second season at the club – but the first goal of a professional career which has also taken in a five-year spell at Birmingham City.

At the age of 25, the goal has been a fair while coming for Harding, who scored a sweetly-taken early opener in the Millers’ Papa John’s Trophy quarter-final draw with Cambridge United – with Paul Warne’s side progressing in a penalty shoot-out for the second round running.

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On his scoring famine ahead of the game, Harding observed: “I’ve had a bit of banter, but it’s been light-hearted. It’s in training and they say: ‘Have you scored?’ One time Smudge (Michael Smith) asked me and he thought I had already scored. I hadn’t, so it’s nice. I was buzzing with it.

“I just tried to strike it clean. It was nice work from Will (Grigg) to slide me in. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to celebrate. I’ve only ever scored in training before.

“I don’t really feel under pressure to score as I am a defender and being wide, I like whipping it in. But it is lovely to score.”

Millers chief Warne revealed that he was going to buy Harding a celebratory cake in homage to his goal.

Champagne corks will be popped to herald reaching a final at Wembley if Rotherham prevail in their last-four tie. The draw is on Saturday.

Harding added: “I have never played at Wembley, so it would be exciting. I just want to get there now, it’s one game away. I vaguely remember going once. I don’t know if it was a tour as a child or something. I have definitely been there, but not for a game.”