FRECK: WE’LL FIGHT TO END
IN TWO years at Rotherham all midfielder Lee Frecklington has known is glory – but an apparent administrative error could be about to change all that with the risk of a points deduction the biggest threat to their Championship status.
And, having worked so hard to help the Millers reach English football’s second tier, Frecklington admits he would be devastated to have all that snatched away.
The 29-year-old originally joined the Millers – then in League Two – on loan from Peterborough in 2012, scoring on his debut away at Aldershot.
His short-term stay was soon made permanent and, after winning one promotion in each of his two seasons at the club, his most recent run-out for the Millers came against Fulham on Wednesday night.
Their performance in that 1-1 draw was the highlight of a tumultuous week, however, as on Monday Rotherham were charged with fielding an ineligible player in a 1-0 win against Brighton earlier this month. The Football Disciplinary Commission will now study the facts of the case and deliver a potential punishment “at the earliest possible opportunity” – promised to be before the season ends on May 2.
Blackpool were found guilty of the same offence this season and fined £30,000, though they lost the game in question. In the last five years AFC Wimbledon, Hereford, Torquay and Hartlepool have all been docked points.
Millers manager Steve Evans is typically forthright in his assertion he should be absolved of any blame, believing an initial 28-day youth loan for defender Farrend Rawson had been renewed in time for him to start against the Seagulls.
Evans called his players in from training on Monday to reveal the news and Frecklington admits it would be gut-wrenching if a points deduction leads to their relegation.
“We would be absolutely gutted,” said Frecklington, pictured. “We’ve worked so hard to get here.
“We were at the training ground on Monday morning.The gaffer pulled us in for a meeting and said there was a possibility a points deduction could happen, but didn’t elaborate any further than that.
“We’re very disappointed. It’s news we weren’t expecting, but we’ve just got to get on with it, because it’s something we can’t control.
“We’ve got to look forwards, because I don’t know what went on. You have to believe the right thing will happen. If you don’t believe, you may as well give up and concede relegation. We are going to fight to the very end, points deduction or no points deduction.” Frecklington hasspent time in and out of the first team this season.
His start at Craven Cottage was his 21st in the Championship, but boss Evans was sufficiently convinced of his talent to reward Frecklington with a new twoyear contract in December.
Rather than complain about a nonregular starting berth though, Frecklington has bought into Rotherham’s ‘all-for-one’ mentality.
And the Republic of Ireland B international believes they will stay up.
“We’re at the wrong end of the league and the only way we can get out of it is to keep fighting and keep positive,” Frecklington added.
“Home form is always crucial if you are going to survive. At times our place can be rocking and hopefully with two home games to go that can continue.
“No-one thought we would come back at Wembley (they were 2-0 down to Leyton Orient in the League One play-off final last season and eventually won on penalties) and we did. We will carry on fighting to try and stay here.
“Last year our goal was to get promoted and we kept going until the end of the season. This year we have a different goal but it’s the same premise – we have to fight to the very end.”
CRUCIAL ERROR? Farrend Rawson battles for the ball in the 1-0 win against Brighton – but it appears he wasn’t eligible to play