VASTLY-EXPERIENCED goalkeeper Andy Warrington has proved the doubters wrong at Rotherham United and played a major role in their promotion tilt, according to boss Steve Evans.
Warrington, who recently made his 200th league start for the Millers against his old club York City, has started the last 28 matches after first-choice shot-stopper Scott Shearer picked up an elbow injury in mid-October.
Following successful surgery on his elbow, Shearer has resumed full training this week and is nearing a first-team return. Signed by Evans last summer, Shearer could be named on the substitutes bench against Dagenham and Redbridge tomorrow.
While Evans is delighted to have Shearer back in the fold, he says the former Crawley Town player is unlikely to immediately dislodge Warrington in between the sticks. Evans believes Warrington, in his sixth season with Rotherham, deserves to retain the number one jersey following a series of fine displays. The 36-year-old made a string of superb stops against York and Southend United as Evans men battled hard to secure two valuable points in the fight for promotion. It is a far cry from last term when Sheffield-born star Warrington was frozen out under Andy Scott, featuring just seven times under his management.
“I think Woggy (Andy Warrington) has been absolutely different class for us,” said Evans. “This was a guy that was written off a year ago.
“Andy is a real model professional. He is a local man, which ultimately makes no difference, but it helps. He is someone at this football club who is respected from top to bottom. If Andy Warrington keeps playing the way he is, then nothing would give me greater satisfaction as a manager than seeing Scott (Shearer) sit next to me because what a deputy I’ve got if there is a problem with Woggy.”
Shearer travelled down with the rest of the squad to Oxford earlier this week as he continues to build up his sharpness.
Evans said: “Scott has been out too long for his and my liking. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, a fantastic presence and he is a big character.”
Rotherham welcome mid-table Dagenham to the New York Stadium looking to extend their unbeaten run in League Two to seven matches. Wayne Burnett has recently been appointed the Daggers interim manager after John Still decided to join non-league Luton Town last month.
Evans, who watched Dagenham draw at Bradford City just over a week ago, said: “I know Wayne well. He is a man a man I respect and a man who has got a point to prove after John (Still) took himself off to Luton. John’s left a shrewd manager.”