Rotherham United: Places up for grabs in Millers play-off side and what Warne thinks about the fans’ flag

Paul Warne
Paul Warne
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Around four first-team places are up for grabs as Rotherham United players have one last chance to stake their claim before the club embark on their League One play-off campaign.

The Millers head into tomorrow’s home clash against Blackpool (kick-off 5.30pm) with manager Paul Warne saying, if everything goes according to plan, he knows about seven of his starting line-up for next weekend’s semi-final first leg.

The Seasiders have won four and drawn one of their last five fixtures and will present a stern test in the final fixture of the regular season.

“As I sit here now, I could write down possibly seven players who I think will definitely be in the side for the first play-off game,” Warne said. “But ask me after the game on Saturday when I might be in a bad mood and I might say two!

“I think I know my best side, depending on the opposition and depending on form. If everyone plays to the absolute best in training next week, and we have a certain team we’re playing against, then I know which way I’m going to play.

“But lads’ form goes up and down like anything. If they’re all at their best, I think I’ve got a good idea who I’ll play, but they’re not always all at their best at the same time. One could be injured, one could be fatigued, something could happen at home.”

The Millers, set to finish in the fourth place they have occupied for weeks, will discover tomorrow whether Scunthorpe United or Charlton Athletic will be their opponents next Saturday.

There is a slim chance that a giant Rotherham flag paid for by fans will make its first appearance at AESSEAL New York Stadium tomorrow, although its unveiling is more likely to come in the home tie of the play-off semi.

Supporters raised £1,100 in a campaign run by Pete Rhodes, John Nixon and Jenson Lambley and Warne can’t wait to see the flag which will measure 12 metres by 12 metres.

“I think it’s excellent. I’m all for things that build atmosphere,” the boss said. “I love stuff like that. I should live in America really. I am the cheesiest man ever. I love the badge, the pride, anything like that.

“If I was stood on the terraces with my 14-year-old son and the flag came round, I would buzz off that. Anything that makes the stadium more like ‘this is our home’ is brilliant. It generates atmosphere and lifts the lads as they walk on to the pitch.

“If Rotherham fans have raised money for it and really want to do it, it encourages the lads.”

Michael Smith’s solo strike in the 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers, when he ran from the halfway line and fired a stunning shot into the far top corner, has been nominated for the Sky Bet League One April Goal of the Month award.

The 6ft 4in targetman is up against efforts by Fleetwood Town’s Conor McAleny (v Oxford United) and Wigan Athletic’s Gavin Massey (v Fleetwood).

Fans can vote at www.skysports.com and the voting closes on Tuesday May 8.

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