Rotherham United can complete their Championship great escape tomorrow and equal an unbeaten run dating back to 1966 ... but that’s not their only motivation for avoiding defeat at Wolves.
Lose, and they could face the ‘egg and sherry’ treatment!
A point at Molineux will be enough for Neil Warnock’s side, who haven’t lost for two months, to seal their second-tier safety and condemn MK Dons to the drop along with already-relegated Charlton Athletic and Bolton Wanderers.
But Warnock, who has masterminded an amazing Millers revival since joining the club on a short-term deal 13 games ago, is warning that an old trick of his could be brought out of hibernation if his squad don’t complete the job in the West Midlands.
“An egg and a sherry ... that’s how I used to be,” he grinned. “I used to do that to change a losing run.
“I used to pour all the sherries into glasses. The players would come up, get their own egg and drop it in. The look on some of their faces when they drank it! I did it at Scarborough, Notts County, Huddersfield, all sorts of clubs.
“Chris Billy, a player I had at Huddersfield, was the worse. His face was a picture. It might come out again if we lose!”
Rotherham are unbeaten in 10 games, one short of the number the class of ‘66 managed at the same level, and Warnock has set the current crop a target of going unbeaten to the end of the campaign as he contemplates his own future.
Whether or not he stays with them next year, the Cornwall-based 67-year-old has called for the club to upgrade their Parkgate training base and says he can see them moving to a new complex in the next few years.
“I’ve had a couple of meetings with the chairman (Tony Stewart), talking about the training ground etcetera,” he revealed. “I think he appreciates that I want to help, whatever the situation is next year.
“We want to get the job (staying up) done first, and then I owe to myself to take my time, digest living in Cornwall and what another year entails.
“It’s going to be difficult, isn’t it, to follow on from where we are now with another season. It’s very difficult to maintain that. I know how hard it would be. But that won’t put me off. It’s just that I owe it to myself to speak to people, if I have to, and then make up my mind.”
Warnock was lured out of retirement by Rotherham in February when relegation was looking increasingly likely and has overseen six victories and four draws in his last 10 games to move them nine points clear of the drop zone with only three matches left.
Fans are desperate for him to stay, but his achievements will have been noted by bigger clubs who could come calling when the season closes on May 7 and his present contract ends.
The veteran of seven promotions has enjoyed his time at AESSEAL New York Stadium so much that he has said it will be a tracksuit and football boots rather than carpet slippers and fishing rods next term and that his preparations have already begun.
“In management, you have to look to next season. You have to plan and be looking at players, wherever you are,” he said. “The only thing is, I thought I’d be looking at holiday resorts and fishing areas. I didn’t think I’d be looking at players. I’m a little bit behind, but I am catching up!”