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Mandela gives Rhodes a leg up
Alex Rhodes will look to the artwork on his leg for inspiration against his old team on Saturday.
The left winger was in and out at Valley Parade last season because of hamstring injuries and inconsistency but has played in all but one of Rotherham’s 24 games so far, starting 20 of those and scoring three times.
It is the 26-year-old’s best run since turning professional with Brentford – and he puts a lot of his new-found belief down to the Nelson Mandela speech he has had tattooed to his leg.
“I had a few knock-backs when I was younger, when people were telling me I was too small, but I’ve always been determined to prove them wrong and I just feel this quotation is appropriate for me and my life,” said Rhodes.
The 142-word passage was written by a peace activist and used by Mandela in his speech when he became president of South Africa 14 years ago.
The tattoo took more than five hours to finish but Rhodes said: “I really love it, especially when I am getting ready for a game.
“It’s inspiring to look down and read through it as it reminds me of everything I’ve gone through to get where I am.”
Rotherham made a great start to wiping out their 17-point pre-season penalty but appear to have run out of steam in recent weeks, winning only once in seven games.
Boss Mark Robins fears the effects of playing ten times in 32 days was evident in Tuesday’s FA Cup exit against Aldershot, the seventh year in a row they have been knocked out of the competition at the first stage.
Skipper Pablo Mills faces a race to be fit after coming off just before half-time with a stomach strain. Fellow midfielder Danny Harrison is suspended, as is six-goal top scorer Reuben Reid.
Goalkeeper Andy Warrington faces six weeks out with a shoulder injury and Robins tried unsuccessfully to bring in Bristol City’s Chris Weale as cover.