Smart move for Rotherham United boss Paul Warne paid off

Rotherham manager Paul Warne acted on a hunch during Saturday's draw at Stoke and he was delighted it paid off.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 8:41 am
Simon Stead. Pic by Taylor Lanning
Simon Stead. Pic by Taylor Lanning

The Millers had just got back into the game at the Bet365 Stadium through Michael Smith's header after two goals in two first-half minutes had put the Potters on course to victory.

Warne decided to throw Matt Crooks on as the Millers chased the game and it paid dividends.

The 25-year-old was a January transfer window signing from League Two Northampton and he has struggled to make the impact he and Warne would have hoped for.

But he began to put that right at the Potters as he scored the Millers' equaliser and it could have been an even better afternoon had he not had an effort cleared off the line by Ryan Shawcross and seen Jack Butland pull off a world-class save to keep out what looked like a certain winner.

Crooks fits the Warne mould as he is athletic and works hard and his boss had a good feeling in Staffordshire.

"It's difficult when you join a club in January, particularly when you're jumping up two leagues,” Warne said.

"I just had a good feeling about him today. He's trained really well. He's got an arrogance about him with the ball at his feet. He thinks he can take people on.

Matt Crooks

"If he'd scored when he weaved his way through it would have been like Diego Maradona stuff.”

Some of the shine of the Millers' comeback was taken off by other results as draws for Wigan and Millwall and a win for Reading leaves them still in the bottom three with four games to go.

However, they are playing well and Warne was impressed with their performance given their midweek exertions.

The Millers gave it their all on Wednesday against Aston Villa, while Stoke played 24 hours previous against Swansea.

"We played on Wednesday, 24 hours after Stoke,” Warne said.

“Twenty four hours' less rest in three days is a big difference. But we finished physically a lot stronger.

“We beat Nottingham Forest at home last weekend and we let a chance go on Wednesday against Aston Villa really.

"Then to come here and get a point ... the lads are performing excellently.”