Why Rotherham United goal hero Freddie Ladapo believes he has big role to play in Millers survival bid

Freddie Ladapo has been denied the chance to build on a big moment for himself and Rotherham United by a Covid-19 outbreak in the camp.

Rotherham United's Freddie Ladapo (left) celebrates scoring his side's winning goal at Hillsborough. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA

A number of positive tests saw today’s game at Brentford called off after consultation with Football League doctors and the Bees, and it has been rearranged for April 27 at 7pm.

According to Rotherham, who have also closed their training ground, Tuesday’s game at Luton Town will “take place as planned until otherwise announced.”

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They will be hoping it does to carry on the feelgood factor of Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday, when substitute Ladapo scored the winner with the last kick.

Rotherham United's Freddie Ladapo celebrates scoring at Hillsborough. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA

It was all the sweeter because the Millers were reduced to 10 men after a straight red card for their other goalscorer, Michael Smith, which has since been overturned.

For Ladapo, with only one other goal since November, it was a relief, but it felt significant for the team too.

“Hopefully we carry on feeling that togetherness and that the luck is coming, the quality has shown,” he reflected. “Hopefully we show we deserve to be in this division.

“It was a huge victory for us. You need to not just beat the teams above you but the teams around you because it stops that gap getting a lot wider.

“I think you saw in my celebration how relieved I was because when you’re not playing you think ‘What can I do? What can I change? What can I add to the team?’

“I feel like I’ve got a huge part to play so when you’re not starting it’s frustrating.

“I’d had a few chances the last few games and it felt like things weren’t dropping so I was so happy.”

Already the Millers had more games to play than their relegation rivals, with two games in hand on Huddersfield Town, Coventry City and Birmingham City, and one on Sheffield Wednesday. They are three points from safety.

Rotherham’s December games against Derby County and Middlesbrough were also called off because of coronavirus cases within the squad, the rearranged match against Derby fell foul of a waterlogged pitch, and the visit of Queens Park Rangers was called off because of a frozen New York Stadium pitch. The game at Luton was originally due to be played in January, but postponed because of the Hatters’ involvement in the FA Cup.

The Championship season is due to finish on May 8, and Rotherham have 14 games to play in nine weeks, effectively seven because of March’s international break.

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