Rotherham United boss Paul Warne spoke to iFollow Millers ahead of Tuesday night's South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Following Christmas postponements of the fixtures against Derby County and Middlesbrough, the Millers have been cleared to return to Sky Bet Championship action against the Tykes in the midweek encounter on 29th December 2020.
Warne took time to speak to the media ahead of the all-South Yorkshire affair, whilst providing a first update on the Covid-19 situation within the first team squad in recent weeks.
Below are the highlights from the interview with the Gaffer...
Warne on Covid-19 outbreak from Derby postponement until present day…
"We went into the game on Saturday [against Derby] with two players symptomatic after a positive test for another.
"We then had to pull out of the game because we couldn't be sure within the club how many people had it [Covid-19].
"We contacted the EFL and their doctors and they agreed that we would be better to call that game off.
"All the players and staff then got tested on the same Saturday, from which we had nearly a clean bill of health with just one positive test.
"We got tested again on Tuesday and another three players had the virus.
"I'm glad the game didn't go ahead against Derby because we were obviously carrying it and could have passed it on to their players and staff - which is definitely not something I would want to do.
"That then put the Middlesbrough game into doubt which were also advised to call off.”
Warne on current situation and training plans ahead of South Yorkshire derby…
"One of my players who has got through it [including the self-isolation period], has only been able to train one day, but may be able to start.
"The rest missing are key players to us so that is a massive disadvantage.
"We had to shut down for 10 days for self-isolation but that would have only allowed us one day's training for the game on the Tuesday, so the EFL allowed us to come back a day earlier for two days' prep.
"Yesterday [Sunday], another player phoned up with symptoms and he has now had a test.
"We're hoping to get the results back by tomorrow's game, if not, he won't be able to play either.
"I don't think the result of that test will have any effect [on the game being on].”
Warne on preparing his side for battle against the Tykes…
"After nine days of inactivity, to come in and prepare for a Championship game which is as important to us as any other game during the season, for two days, seems a little harsh.
"We are going into this a little bit blunt to say the least.
"The general public know that we train hard every day and we're a really fit bunch, who are obsessed with physical data and pressing. So to not train for nine days and then just two ahead of a game isn't - in my opinion - enough.
"We've done everything right and we've done everything we can do to prepare the team but it is the first game that I've gone into whereby I can honestly say that I don't know what I'm going to get out of them.”
Warne on Barnsley…
“They're a completely different team to what they were last year - I'm not saying player-wise.
"They play a different way and they're a lot more forward is the nicest way to put it. They want to get into your final third, they're creative from set pieces and they have some phenomenal talent.
"They want to turn you and they want to cause you problems at the top end of the pitch. Last year, I think they were a different footballing proposition, they played through the thirds of the pitch and kept the ball, but this year, they're a lot more direct and I don't mean that in a negative way!
"Their pressing is phenomenal. There aren't many teams I have watched who I thought are as good at pressing as us, but they definitely are.
"They give you no time on the ball, they hunt in packs and you can see that the manager who has come in has had a massive impact on their pressing.
"I have massive respect for their manager for the way they are playing and the way he is making them run.
"Looking at Barnsley's discipline - in and out of possession of the ball - they look like they are very well-coached, they all know what they're doing and there is no grey area.”