Rotherham United manager Paul Warne was on iFollow Millers duty ahead of the Emirates FA Cup clash at Solihull Moors…
Warne discussed the performance away at Portsmouth in midweek, the form of Freddie Ladapo and the attacking options he has at his disposal, injuries among the squad and the threat that Solihull will pose to the Millers on Monday evening.
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Warne's Portsmouth reflections...
"I was pleased and I thought we played pretty well. Going down to a wonder goal after 30 seconds doesn't help but then I thought we controlled the game quite well.
"We could have gone in all square and then we made a positive substitution at half time and tried to go for it and got back to 2-2 and I thought we might win in really.
"I'm really pleased with how the lads dug in and it is well-documented that we lost Billy with around 25 minutes to go and I'd made all of my subs.
"I thought we quietened the crowd really well and I knew it was going to be a tough game. As Kenny [Jackett] kindly said afterwards, we should both be up there come the end of the season."
Warne on current fourth position in the league...
"If you look at our fixtures come January we are playing all of the top teams. By the end of that month we should really know what we're aiming for.
"We're pleased. What really pleases me is that I still think there is more to come from the team. I still think we can improve. We try and improve every week but I think the team are going in the right direction. Hopefully I can keep the group together and try and keep them fit."
Warne on Ladapo's return to the side and his impact in front of goal...
"It is the same pressure for every player really, I do say 'next man up'.If you get an opportunity and you are a game changer that comes on and makes an impact in a positive vein then you have the right to keep your shirt.
"He has performed well in the last couple of games, but as he knows and everyone else in the squad does, if you aren't at those levels then you come back out.
"We try to pick the best XI to win a football game and at the moment, with his goals and his overall play, Freddie is definitely in that.
"He has definitely improved since he has been here and I think his hold up play has got better too. He has been much more reliable in that and that gives me as much joy as his actual finishing."
Warne on options in the final third...
"It's good because with having five attacking players it is difficult from a manager's point of view but I would take over not having the options.
"Last year we virtually had Smudge on his own. Even if he was having a poor game or was carrying an injury he just had to stay out there, whereas now it isn't the case.
"Options are great and it keeps it really competitive because they know as soon as they drop their standards, there is someone as good as them to replace them, which they don't want."
Warne on Jones injury...
"He's having a scan so we'll find out today. What is for sure is that unless there is a miracle he won't be available for the game on Monday which does leave us a bit weak at the back with Woody, Mattock and Billy out.
"We'll see how Robbo is today as well, so we've got a bit of a scratch of a back four at the moment."
Warne on Robertson and Crooks ongoing injury issues...
"They are both warriors and they both train and try and play for us [despite knocks] but you can see they are in pain.
"Robbo is especially. Crooksy came on the other night and was fine playing 20 minutes for us. As the game went on Robbo you could see him running in agony and I don't want to see any of my players like that. There is a cause and that is a step too far.
"They'll see the best man in London tomorrow so hopefully they'll get some better pain relief or advice and if it means they need an op, then I have to accept that because I can't ask them to keep playing in that amount of time."
Warne on Emirates FA Cup challenge at Solihull Moors...
"I don't see it as a David and Goliath type game. They are second in the conference and they played Stockport midweek and won 4-1.
"They had 10 ex-pros in their starting XI. They've conceded the least amount of goals and won the most home games.
"They are a club on the up, who have invested well in their team.
"They're used to winning. I don't want to build it up as this romantic; 'we're playing a non-league village team, who get the butcher and the electrician to play' because that is not the case. We're playing a proper outfit, who are used to winning and play in a way that is really effective for them.
"We're going to have to really stand up. If we're fortunate enough to get through it will be because we've played at our absolute best."