#blog-pager{clear:both;margin:30px auto;text-align:center; padding: 7px;} .blog-pager {background: none;} .displaypageNum a,.showpage a,.pagecurrent{padding: 3px 7px;margin-right:5px;background:#E9E9E9;color: #888;border:1px solid #E9E9E9;} .displaypageNum a:hover,.showpage a:hover,.pagecurrent{background:#CECECE;text-decoration:none;color: #000;} .showpageOf{display:none!important} #blog-pager .showpage, #blog-pager .pagecurrent{font-weight:bold;color: #888;} #blog-pager .pages{border:none;} - See more at: http://labstrikes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/add-calendar-style-date-widget-for-blog-post.html#sthash.Js2lbh9N.dpuf


Fantastic Freck! How Lee Frecklington has become Rotherham's number one

Neil Warnock reckons defying medical advice might just have saved Rotherham's season.

With the Millers staring relegation in the face following a limp display at Reading a month ago, Warnock knew he had to gamble in the gargantuan-sized clash with Brentford three days later.

Already six points adrift of safety and a horror run of fixtures coming up, the Millers had to get something out of their clash with the Bees. And desperate times called for desperate measures.

Warnock had to change things around so turned to players who he thought could make a difference - the only problem was, they were nowhere near full match fitness.

Leon Best and Jerome Thomas had got some minutes under their belts off the bench and in the reserves but were still some way off peak condition. And as for skipper Lee Frecklington, well he had been a permanent fixture in the treatment room for most of the year.

After the first part of his campaign was ruined by a calf injury, the influential midfielder saw an impressive run in the team ended by a hamstring problem in the 2-1 loss at Preston on January 2.

His comeback was lengthened after aggravating the injury in the reserves, meaning he did not appear under former boss Neil Redfearn again, while Warnock was also robbed of him in his first three games after he niggled a groin when slipping on the training ground.

But his infectious energy had been sorely missed by the Millers and Warnock reckoned that a half-fit Frecklington was better than any other option he had.

A chat with the physio didn't go too well for Warnock, who was told that his midfielder was over a week away from being ready.

So the veteran boss, who has made a career out of getting players to go the extra mile for him, had one more trick up his sleeve, desperate to get Frecklington on to the field against the Bees.

And it was a straightforward one. He was going to ask him if he would play.

"The physio said it would be 10 days and I said to him before Brentford, 'Listen, we haven't got 10 days Lee, how are you feeling'?" Warnock said.

"'I feel alright gaffer'. 

"'Well what about starting against Brentford then and see how you go?'

"'Yeah I'll give it a go'. And that kind of attitude you can't replicate."

The gamble took less than half an hour to pay off. With his ability to get beyond the strikers that had been so missed, he burst into the box after 29 minutes against the Bees and cut back for Matt Derbyshire to roll into the bottom corner and put the Millers in front.

He didn't stop there as his box-to-box energy and desire helped his side to a vital three points that cut the gap to three points off safety.

Typically, Frecklington was involved in most of the major incidents during his 81 minutes as it was him defending in his own area when referee Mark Brown incensed the home crowd by giving Brentford a penalty for a perfectly-timed tackle by the midfielder.

Luckily, the Millers found a winner - which Brown confessed to Frecklington that he was glad about - and he came out of the game unscathed.

And he was back in the thick of the action the next week too, underlying his importance to the side by again creating for Derbyshire to score the goal which gave them a famous 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.

He saved his most important action until the next game and it was this that summed him up perfectly.

The match against Middlesbrough was supposed to be the one which he would be making his comeback in, 10 days after the Brentford win.

Yet he was about to embark on his third game in that period and perhaps it showed as he struggled to make an impact in the first half as the Millers were overrun.

But after the break Frecklington delivered his trademark, something that he has built his Millers career on - as well as his incessant buzzing around the pitch.

With Warnock's side having improved considerably in the second half, it looked like the Millers were going to take a 0-0 draw against promotion-chasing Boro. A fine result in anyone's book.

But Frecklington had other ideas. After working tirelessly for almost three games in 10 days - having missed two months of football and being brought back without being fully fit - he somehow found the energy for one last gut-busting run.

When Jonson Clarke-Harris made headway down the left and cut the ball back, it looked like there was only one Miller - Derbyshire - in the area. Clarke-Harris' cross went behind his strike partner and the attack looked to be over until Frecklington, who had dashed 40 yards as if it was the eighth minute of the game not the 88th, arrived in the box with perfect timing and clipped the ball into the roof of the net for a highly-composed finish. Amid the euphoria, and one of the loudest cheers ever heard at New York Stadium, Frecklington still found the energy to race over to the corner flag to celebrate his winner.

Three games back and Frecklington, the only survivor from League Two, had a direct involvement in three of the four goals that had earned the Millers nine points from nine.

It was at that moment, more than any other, that the importance of Frecklington was highlighted.

He has contributed further to the last two results, an unlikely come-from-behind draw against Derby and a polished 1-0 win at Ipswich, and his worth to the team can be valued in numbers.

The Millers have won 27 out of their 39 points when Frecklington has been on the pitch, a whopping 69 per cent, while only three of their 11 wins this season have been managed without Frecklington in the side.

Without him, they were dead and buried, virtual certainties to go down. With him, they are in with a very fine chance of staying up.

His impact is always immediate, his first appearance in two and a half months after his calf injury saw the Millers end a seven-game winless run at Leeds - the same number the Millers had been waiting for a three-pointer prior to the Brentford clash.

Warnock knew exactly what he would bring to the side when asking him to play without being fully fit. It was an astute request by the 67-year-old, who probably had every inkling that Frecklington would not be able to say no.

The Millers boss is certainly aware of his impact over the last five games.

"I have to say I don't think we would be in the position we are in now without Frecklington being fit," he said. 

"He gave us all a massive lift at the right time.

"We have to wrap him up in cotton wool balls because five games in a month is a lot of games he way Lee plays.

"When you look at the statistics we are not the same without him."

There's lies, damned lies and statistics. But this time, the statistics are telling the truth.

Latest News




Copyright 2016