Millwall boss says nothing to be read into benching of Stoke midfielder for two of last four games

GARY Rowett insisted there is nothing to be read into Ryan Woods being on the bench for two of the last four games – but the Lions boss admitted he has to plan for being without the midfielder next season.

Woods, 27, has been an unused substitute in two of the last four matches after he made 37 appearances in the 38 league games he was available for before that this season.

Midfielder Woods has been on loan with the Lions from Stoke for a season-and-half. He didn’t feature in the last game against Watford, but Rowett said that was because he was keen to try another combination.

“I felt as though it was important that we looked at Maikel [Kieftenbeld] and Billy [Mitchell], who are under contract next season, together,” Rowett said.

“Woodsy’s been brilliant for me for 18 months now. I think he’s only missed a couple of games recently which is not much compared to some players.

“He’s been a regular starter. Again, he’s under contract at Stoke for next season. Unless there’s clarity either way I think we have to appreciate he might not be here next year.

“Therefore I have to make one or two decisions with the team for the last few games.

“But alternatively if I think Woodsy’s going to help us win the game as he has done so often then I’ll start him.

“There’s nothing there. He’s a great lad. It’s unfortunate because he’s committed to us for the time but of course I have to have to have a slightly more balanced view and look at the group in general.”

Image: Millwall FC