Rotherham United: These lads deserve to be playing Stoke City insists Paul Warne

Paul WarnePaul Warne
Paul Warne
Paul Warne is confident his Rotherham United players will not be overawed when they play Stoke City in front of the television cameras at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Potters were one of the bookmakers' favourite to win the Championship title at the start of this season following relegation from the Premier League. 

Stoke kept hold of their star players and splashed the cash under Gary Rowett in the summer, but results have not gone their way yet. 

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And despite coming up against the likes of Jack Butland, Peter Crouch and Joe Allen, Warne believes his team will be able to handle the occasion.

"They are just a really good group," he said. 

"It is a great honour to manage this group. They enjoy playing for the club and they enjoy taking the battles on. 

"That is why I am obsessed with personalities. Obviously football ability counts for a lot of it, but we need strong characters. 

"We need characters that if they are one or two-nil down, they are going to have a right good go and not be overawed by names on the back of shirts. 

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"You can't get carried away with names. The lads have deserved the right. You have got to enjoy it." 

Stoke have not settled into life in the second tier well, winning only two of their first nine matches to sit 18th in the table, level on nine points with the Millers.

"At the start of the season they were everyone's favourites, without a shadow of doubt," Warne added. 

"They have got great players, there is no disputing that. They have not lost a load of games, but they haven't won them. 

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"They are not as convincing as they had hoped, but every team they play against sees it as a proper Premier League game and that might up the ante of the opposition. 

"Because of the club and their standard, the pressure does mount on them to win football matches. Anxiety in sport is key. 

"At the moment, Stoke are desperate for wins and the anxiety mounts. Hopefully we can add to that."

Rotherham have made their home ground a fortress so far this campaign, winning three of their four league matches. 

"They (the crowd) are absolutely essential", Warne added.

"The lads give everything they can, which is amazing, and I think the fans appreciate it. The players appreciate the fans' support. It is essential."