Rotherham United manager Paul Warne was on press duty ahead of Saturday’s fixture with Derby County at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The Millers will be looking to build on their impressive victory on home soil against Bristol City last time out, when the Rams visit South Yorkshire this weekend.
On the agenda ahead of the fixture were topics including lifting the players, following a cruel late defeat to Blackburn Rovers in midweek, an update on the fitness of Trevor Clarke and the threats posed by the Rams.
Warne on lifting the players ahead of the Derby fixture…
“I think they know the importance of the game, they are great group who always want to learn and improve. I don’t think we have to pick them up a great deal, they know how important the game is and they know how good we can be at home.
“They enjoy playing football for this great club, their performances back-to-back have been really good and they’ve got some understanding across the pitch, so long may that continue.”
Warne on preparation for Saturday’s game…
“Pressure is a good thing, but too much pressure isn’t. If you make out this is a ‘do or die’ game it could go completely the other way. For example, when we play Sheffield Wednesday at home I know how much it means to the fans, but if I harp on to the players about it, they will may underperform, so you have to get the right balance.
“That isn’t the easiest thing to get right, as staff we go through the same process and tell them it’s just another game. They aren’t idiots and they know the importance, but if they play to the levels they did in the previous two fixtures, it will give us a right good chance on Saturday.”
“I really dislike the Wednesday to Saturday games, I know Derby played Wednesday as well so it is the same for both, but I feel the turnaround from a Wednesday is so quick in terms of showing them clips and trying to keep them fresh for Saturday.
“Over the course of this month that has become a lot harder, as it has for every other team, it’s more about preparing them in the classroom and keeping them fresh for when they go on the pitch.”
Warne on Trevor Clarke’s fitness…
“He hurt his back in training on Monday, he started training on Tuesday and was confident he’d be okay but it seized up again. He didn’t travel with us to Blackburn, so we’ll see how he is in training on Friday.”
Warne on Derby County…
“Their players are obviously very good and you can’t expect Derby and Forest to keep losing every week, it’d be naive to think that. If the season ended and they were midtable you wouldn’t be surprised, they were always going to pick up results and they have players coming back as well.
“When I look at the table I take Derby and Forest out it, because I don’t think there’s any chance either of them will be down there come the end of season. Both will strengthen in January and already have very good squads.
“Obviously, they will be a formidable opponents, as all teams in this league are and their position in the table probably amplifies the importance of it. It will be a game that both teams want to win, but both teams don’t want to lose, so I can imagine a bit of an edgy affair.”