'Underdog story of the year' - Rotherham United boss Paul Warne on Millers' chances of staying up ahead of Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County
Rotherham boss Paul Warne hopes his side can pull off the “underdog story of the year” by beating the Championship drop.
The Millers head to Cardiff for this lunchtime's season finale knowing they have to win and hope that Derby do not beat Sheffield Wednesday.
If they can avoid an instant return to League One then Warne says it will be the biggest achievement of his managerial career given the circumstances his side have faced.
Two Covid-19 outbreaks heavily disrupted their season and left them playing 12 games in 37 days.
It will all come down to the final one of those in south Wales and Warne is praying for a miracle to happen.
“Saturday will define our season. There are certain parts of your life you remember for great reasons,” he said.
“ I'll never forget Freddie (Ladapo) scoring that last-minute winner at Hillsborough. It wasn't because it was against Sheffield Wednesday, although that was extra obviously, it was the fact that we were down to 10 men and it was a breakaway goal when I thought there was a chance we could concede.
“It's a moment that can never be taken away from me, standing at the side of the pitch and seeing everyone I respect and love jumping around like lunatics.
“It was the best six minutes of my year really.
“It would be an amazing feeling for me to stand at the side of the pitch at Cardiff and the final whistle goes and we've won and I get told Derby haven't won.
“It would be a fitting end to a crazy season. We would be the underdog story of the season.”
Their survival might already have been secured had they taken just a number of their chances in recent weeks, where missed opportunities have seen a number of points slip by.
“I've just had a meeting with my analyst going through loads of stats,” Warne added.
“With the number of chances we've created, on expected goals we'd be something like 11th in the league. It's not a criticism of individuals.
“As a team, we've missed chances at set-pieces. Strikers, centre-halves and centre-mids have all missed chances.
“The lads will leave it all out there. They know that after the game they won't have to listen to my dour tones again for about seven weeks.
“A win is the only result that gives us any chance of staying up. We'll approach the game with fresh minds, fresh optimism and just go for it.”