@roverschat looks at why Richie Smallwood could be key to Rovers’ success this season.
Richard Smallwood started his career at Middlesbrough, and was managed by Tony Mowbray at ‘Boro. The tough tackling midfielder then moved to Rotherham, in 2014, and enjoyed a good spell there – including winning the League One play-off final against Leyton Orient.
Last season,. Rotherham had a poor season to say the least, and some of The Millers’ fans say part of this reason was them not having Smallwood for a section of the season – as then manager Alan Stubbs sent him out on loan to Rovers’ League One opponents Scunthorpe United. After Stubbs left, Smallwood returned to the New York Stadium under Paul Warne.
Richie turned down a contract at Rotherham this summer, and elected to join Rovers on a two year deal.
Through watching Smallwood so far, even if it is only pre-season, he looks like a clever acquisition from Mowbray. He looks like he’s not afraid to put a foot in, and will give his all for the team whenever he is picked.
I really do believe that Smallwood could be the ‘glue’ that holds Rovers together this season. Richie has the experience in this league, as well as the quality needed to play a part in Rovers’ ‘push for promotion’. By knowing the league inside-out, he’ll provide Rovers with that push to go forward – by creating the link between the defence and midfield, by sitting in between the centre-halfs and the centre-backs.
Smallwood has been strong in all of the friendlies Rovers have played so far, and I’m sure he’ll continue this in tonight’s friendly vs Grimsby. He’ll be looking to cement his place in Tony’s starting XI for the opening League One game against Southend.
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