Former Premier League flyer Jerome Thomas has revealed how the Neil Warnock factor persuaded him to join Rotherham United’s fight for Championship survival.
The 32-year-old winger had played under the new Millers boss at Leeds United and Crystal Palace and knew what type of man he would be working for when he signed for the South Yorkshire club until the end of the season.
“He’s the kind of manager I would always pick to play for because he’s a players’ manager,” Thomas said. “He’s just straightforward, honest and tells it as it is.
“There are no hidden agendas, and that’s all you can ask really in someone. People forget sometimes that football is a business and there are a lot of ulterior motives and a lot of people who aren’t always honest with you, as in any business, so it’s a breath of fresh air to work with a manager like him.”
Thomas, who has played in the top flight with Charlton, West Brom and Palace, made his first start for Rotherham in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Brentford and is likely to feature in Saturday’s derby at Sheffield Wednesday.
Victory over the Bees saw the third-bottom Millers record their first victory in Warnock’s four games in charge and cut the gap between them and safety to three points.
The former Arsenal youngster turned down moves abroad in favour of Rotherham and says he could be tempted to remain with them if they defy the odds and secure their place in the second term for a third season.
After being contacted by Millers head of recruitment Gee Evans, he had begun training with the club while Neil Redfearn was still in charge and accepted a short-term contract during Warnock’s first week in the job.
“My mindset was on doing something different and going to America or Asia,” he said. “But I still felt good in myself and those kind of moves are usually what you do at the end of the career when you’re feeling on a bit of a ‘down’ just to get a few more years in.
“I felt I still had something to offer in this country. If it all goes according to plan and we stay up, maybe we can talk about me staying longer.”
Rotherham face a tough task at the promotion-chasing Owls yet have a good record in at Hillsborough, having not lost there since September 1981.
The Millers, given a 2,600 allocation, say there has been a surge in ticket sales for Saturday’s showdown after the triumph over Dean Smith’s side, but many fans plan to boycott the match in protest at high prices.