Rotherham United: Richard Wood looks at the Sheffield Wednesday derby in his first weekly column for The Star
After picking up three vital points last Saturday, Rotherham United, go into this weekend against my former club, Sheffield Wednesday, full of confidence. Local derbies always throw up a great atmosphere and, with the Millers needing the points to avoid relegation and Carlos Carvalhal's side trying to maintain their promotion push, it is a hugely important game.
It seems a long time ago now since I left the Owls, but it’s great to go back and see some old faces. I have to mention Lee Bullen, Mr Sheffield Wednesday, who was brilliant with me and was a great club captain. He is someone I have a huge amount of respect for.
I have great memories from my time at Hillsborough, particularly the play-off final in 2005 which was a fantastic day to be involved in and one that will live with me for a long time.
The club has moved on a lot in the last few years, which is great to see, and it would be brilliant to see them back in the Premier League. It’s the least the fans deserve, as they’ve had to endure some tough times. But it looks as though things are now looking up.
We have a few ex-Wednesday players in our squad and they are looking forward to the game at Hillsborough. We were discussing it on Monday, saying we weren’t sure what sort of reception we’d get from the Wednesday fans.
However, I suppose the spotlight won’t be on former players this Saturday. It will be more than likely directed towards the Rotherham United bench, where we have a certain new manager who I’m sure will get plenty of stick from the home fans because of his strong connection with the red side of the city. It’s going to be an interesting afternoon both on the pitch and on the touchline.
Controversially, referee decisions affected both teams last week. I know referees have a difficult job and will at times make genuine mistakes, but for the official to award a penalty to Brentford when Lee Frecklington clearly made a good tackle was unbelievable. That decision could have cost us the game. Danny Ward came on to score the winner in the second half, much to the relief of the referee, no doubt, as it saved his skin from the earlier spot-kick.
In contrast, Wednesday and Fernando Forestieri were not so fortunate. The ref made a huge error sending him off when he should have booked Hull’s Michael Dawson for the reckless challenge. He is now suspended for Saturday’s match, which from a Rotherham point of view is good because he is one of the most creative and important players in the Owls team.
This incident has highlighted the fact that you cannot appeal against a second yellow card. The FA needs to look into this and I believe they should allow clubs to appeal in situations like the one involving Forestieri. Suspensions like the one Sheffield Wednesday are now dealing with would then rightly be rescinded after video review.
It’s been a frustrating time for me over the last 18 months at Rotherham. I have played nowhere near as many games as I would have liked . I hate not been involved on a Saturday. It doesn’t feel right.
But I’m a happy man at the moment. I’m getting a run of games in the team and, if selected, over the next 12 games will be doing all I can to help keep Rotherham United in the Championship.