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READ | Warne's pre-Southend United press highlights

12 March 2020

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne was on press duties with iFollow Millers ahead of this weekend's hosting of Southend United at AESSEAL New York Stadium...

The Millers boss reflected on the defeat at Rochdale, Michael Ihiekwe's injury blow, the closeness of the division and what to expect from Sol Campbell's Shrimpers on Saturday afternoon.

Read in full below or watch the video content on iFollow Millers by clicking HERE

Warne on the defeat at Rochdale...

"I thought we played all right first half really and we put some decent balls in, Chieo especially, so we had enough of a threat to go in at least all square. Then we got done with a couple of sucker punches, the lads kept going to the end and got a goal, but it felt like the game had passed us by a bit at 2-0.

"You just thought it was going to be one of those days where nothing would fall for us so it's disappointing in that respect, but it is what it is. We can't all win every week and it's unfortunate because it was a good opportunity to make a nice little cushion for ourselves.

"I can't knock the lads' effort and they go out to win every game, but on Saturday we came up against a team who played really well and caused us problems. They deserved the victory, so there are no sour grapes."

Warne on the Michael Ihiekwe's injury blow...

"It's not good news about Icky at the moment - we've seen two specialists, one believing he needs an operation that would keep him out for the season and one who thinks it might be manageable, paving a way for a return in four to five weeks.

"Obviously the latter would be the better option and hopefully he'll be available then, but if he is out for the season it's a massive blow. I think he's been our standout performers this year, but first and foremost I worry about my players."

Warne on the rest of the squad's fitness...

"Joe Mattock dropped out of training last Friday after we had done all of the shape work, hence why we brought Billy Jones in at Rochdale. He hadn't played for three or four months, Curtis Tilt hadn't had too much game time and Richard Wood had to play out of position.

"Joe's issue has been his hamstring and he's felt it in training again today (Tuesday) so I'd suggest he's unlikely to play at the weekend."

Warne on Curtis Tilt's Millers debut...

"He showed flashes of why I want him here, he's powerful, quick and will be a real threat on set pieces. Obviously we need to get him up to match speed and he's struggling a little bit with an injury at the moment, but it's not too severe.

"We brought Curtis here for the long haul, not just for the next nine games. There isn't an urgency for him to play every minute of every game because Woody has been excellent, but I explained the situation to Tilty when he signed.

"As a debut goes, conceding three goals isn't ideal for a centre-back, although he was virtually blameless for all of them. He's joined in training really well and the lads get on with him, so he's fitting into our camp nicely."

Warne on how tight Sky Bet League One is at the top...

"We try and win as many games and we know we can't effect the other matches, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't look at them. During our home fixtures at AESSEAL New York Stadium I find myself looking at the screen for goal alerts, so that does add pressure, but it's exciting too.

"It's up to us to embrace that and we can only deal with ourselves. If we fall up short then that's on me, but we try to win every single game we play in. With all the fixtures coming up, not all of the teams in the top eight or so can win every week, so it's key to pick up as many points as you can.

"Hopefully if we get a home win on Saturday and a couple of results go our way, the league position looks even better. One thing I will say is that the two teams that go up automatically definitely deserve it. Whilst there is so many points to play for, it could be anybody."

Warne looks ahead to hosting Southend United...

"After winning against Bristol Rovers last time out, Southend will have confidence and they have a youthful exuberance. They can come here fearless, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, but when you're at the bottom end of the league and you go away to someone at the top anything is a bonus. 

"Their a decent footballing side so they'll enjoy playing on our pitch, so it will be a tough game. I don't think there are any teams who will just turn up and get their bellies tickled, we have to find ways to break them down.

"Hopefully we can be patient in possession and I think it's vital that we score the first goal. Both teams will be looking for three points and we want to send our fans home happy having seen a good performance."

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