Rotherham United: Millers boss Warne puts in the miles
Manager Paul Warne made a 140-mile midweek round trip to check on Rotherham United's next opponents as the Millers look to put themselves in pole position for their play-off campaign.
Rotherham travel on Saturday to Plymouth Argyle - who have top-six aspirations of their own - after winning three and drawing one of their last four games to virtually guarantee fourth spot in League One.
Warne travelled last night from his Tickhill home to Spotland to be among the spectators who watched Argyle draw 1-1 at relegation-threatened Rochdale.
The boss is targeting good results against Arygle and then at home to Blackpool the following week, on the final day of regular competition, to make his side the form team going into the end-of-season promotion showdown.
The Millers have kept clean sheets in their last three outings and centre-half Michael Ihiekwe, who has impressed in all three of those matches since being recalled at the expense of Semi Ajayi, hailed their solidity at the back.
“Defensively, we have improved quite a lot,” he said. “We have always scored quite a lot of goals, especially at home, but it was little defensive mistakes that were costing us.
“We have strength in depth at the back and you have to take your chance when you get it.
“We are excited and are focusing on going into the play-offs in good form. We want to be feared by whoever we play in the semis.”
Argyle, in seventh, are desperate for their striker, Ryan Taylor, to be fit to face his former club.
The Rotherham-born frontman, a scorer at AESSEAL New York Stadium in a 1-1 draw between the two sides in December, has missed the Pilgrims’ last three outings with an ankle injury and is a concern for Saturday.
Plymouth manager Derek Adams said: “Ryan Taylor hasn’t started training yet. We will look at him on Thursday and Friday and see what he is like for Saturday.
“We will give him every opportunity to play. If he’s ready to go, we will get him playing.”
Argyle could be prepared to risk the centre-forward even if he isn’t full recovered.
“We have got players who are playing at 75 per cent because they have got knocks,” Adams added.
Rotherham can finish no lower than fifth, with Scunthorpe United the only team left with a remote mathematical chance of catching them.
Meanwhile, Millers supporters have hit their £1,100 target for a flag measuring 12 metres by 12 metres and hope to have it ready before the play-offs begin.