Rotherham United: Why Warne is unlikely to rest Millers players after all

Michael Smith
Michael Smith
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Manager Paul Warne is poised to rethink his plan to rest players ahead of Rotherham United’s assault on the League One play-offs

The boss, whose side are at Plymouth Argyle tomorrow, originally intended to protect some of his main men after the Millers sealed their top-six spot by beating Bristol Rovers 2-0 last weekend.

But, having spoken of taking people like striker Michael Smith out of the firing line, he now believes they would benefit more by staying active in the final two matches before the end-of-season promotion showdown.

“It’s a thin line,” he admitted. “If you rest key players, you keep them free of injury, although, in fairness, they could get injured in training or even just walking down the stairs.

“We had one player at the club who dropped something on his foot when he was at home with flip-flops on and he couldn’t play. You can’t protect them from everything.

“Our lads are pretty physically resilient, touch wood. My theory is, I will keep the key players in, but not for so long. It might end up that I play my best 11 on Saturday but I might make my substitutions quicker.”

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

One thing that won’t change is Warne’s desire for victory as Rotherham, virtually certain to end the regular campaign in fourth place, come up against a side they may face again in May.

Argyle are in seventh, two points adrift of the leading pack.

“We’ve set up, wrongly or rightly, in every game this season to win,” the boss said. “It will be no different in the last two games. We’re not going to Plymouth to make the numbers up or hang on for a 0-0.

“Plymouth are a team we could, potentially, play in the play-offs, so I don’t want to lose any psychological edge to them. I want us to go there and perform to our max. Then enjoy the 12-hour bus journey home!”

Warne, along with coaches Matt Hamshaw and Mike Pollitt, watched Arygle draw 1-1 at Rochdale in midweek.

“We’ll show the league the utmost respect,” he said. “Me, Hammy and Polly were at the reserve game at Grimsby Town on Tuesday afternoon and then drove from Grimsby to Rochdale to watch the Rochdale v Plymouth game.

“We wouldn’t be doing that if I didn’t have any interest in winning the game.”

Meanwhile, Millers midfield prospect Reece McGinley has signed his first professional contract after agreeing a one-year deal with the club.

The 18-year-old, who made his senior debut in the 3-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory at Bradford City earlier this season, is a Northern Ireland youth international and is on loan at Frickley Athletic.

He has impressed there, helping Frickley reach the Evo-Stik South Division play-offs.

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