With the excitement continuing to build ahead of this weekend's Sky Bet League One curtain-raiser against Plymouth Argyle, Paul Warne spoke to iFollow Millers.
On the agenda were his delight at the capture of three new recruits - all of whom could be involved this weekend - an update on the players who may miss out through injury, including Viktor Johansson and his thoughts on Ryan Lowe's side.
You can watch the interviews in full later today HERE on iFollow Millers.
Warne on the shape of his squad heading into the 2021/22 campaign…
“I think we’re in good fettle to be fair, I’ve got virtually all my players back fit and a good group to select from.
“We’ve got new players through the door as well which is good for the squad, provides some healthy competition for places and gives us some different options on the pitch, all in all, I think we’re going into Saturday’s game in good shape and with belief.”
Warne on Hakeem Odoffin…
“Haks had a really good season in Scotland last year, he can play in two or three different positions, he’s competitive and he’s athletic.
“He plays forward, he doesn’t waste time on the ball and he’s always looking to drive forward and put people through on goal.
“He can play right-back, right-wing-back, right-centre-back and as a sitting midfielder, which I think is his best position.
I think we needed competition for places in midfield and across the pitch, and I certainly think he offers us that.
“He’s a good kid who wants to improve and this is a real opportunity for him, I think he’ll take it."
Warne on having players at his disposal who can play a number of positions…
“Versatility is massive for the squad. During the course of the season you’re going to have injuries and suspensions. I remember one year Crooksy had to play to centre-back when he was ill, so lads who can play different positions are worth their weight in gold.
“With versatile players on the pitch it gives us the option to flip the system without having to make a sub.
“I always think the players who can play different positions have a greater understanding of the game.
“They know what wingers are trying to do against them, they know what midfielders are doing against them and they just have a good overall knowledge which is crucial for us.”
Warne on Ollie Rathbone…
“I’ve tracked him for three or four years. I spoke to their manager about him, and I know it’s not nice when someone comes in and nicks your best players, but with Rochdale going down I thought there was a window of opportunity for us.
“Ollie has a real energy to him. He’s one of those players who is happy to pick up the ball in midfield and drive at defenders and make things happen.
“Those sort of players might give the ball away now and again, but that is because they are taking risks. We want them kind of players at our club because high risk gives high reward.”
“This year at the New York we’ve made the pitch a little wider, we’ve struggled against teams who sit in so we wanted to have players on the pitch like Ollie who can ask them different questions.
“I thought he was the best midfielder on the pitch when we played Rochdale in pre-season. You can watch players and sometimes it’s hard to judge, so if someone can outperform our midfield they certainly have something to offer.
“We’ve always liked him, but his display did increase our attention on him.”
Warne on Rarmani Edmonds-Green…
“He played 20 odd games at Huddersfield last year and enjoyed an excellent loan spell with Swindon the year before as well.
“He’s someone who can step in – he’s not seven foot tall – but he’s got brilliant springs and he can play.
“I think he’s got the ability to step in and play, and like I say there will be games this season where we possibly have more of the ball and we need players like him who are comfortable playing out.”
Warne on the fitness of his centre-backs…
“We’ve got an issue with Angus and Tilty. Icky is coming back form injury and may not be fit, if that is the case Rarmani will come in.
“I don’t usually like throwing new signings straight into the team, but if he was to start I would have no issue with it at all and I’d sleep comfortably knowing he’d do a good job.”
Warne on Viktor Johansson and Josh Vickers’ fitness…
“He’s trained again today and he trained Tuesday as well, I can’t see that being a problem for The Viking!
“When he came off against Boro he was telling me he’d be fine for Saturday, so he must have some crystal ball!
“As I talk to you now, I think he’ll be fine.
“Josh has done some handling in training but he isn’t fully back yet. He has got a problem with his quad which is a historic problem so we have to manage him a little bit more cautiously.”
Warne on welcoming fans back to AESSEAL New York Stadium…
“Initially I thought it would be a bit weird to have them back, but we’ve played the two friendlies and it felt really good to see them again.
“Hopefully, we’ll have a full house come kick-off on Saturday. I’m looking forward to having the support and we’re going to need it because we’re playing a really good team who are going to come here believing they can win.
“The home support will be crucial.”
Warne on Plymouth Argyle…
“They are really well coached. They have an attacking system and create plenty of chances. We’ve watched a few of their pre-season games and they are very comfortable on the ball, so I’m expecting them to have plenty of possession.
“Like always, we’ve just got to turn up and be at our very best and If we are I’m confident we can give anyone a game.
“We want to give ourselves a right chance to win, it would be great to start off at home with a good performance which hopefully brings three points.
“It will be a tough game, they’ll be right up for it as well, let’s hope we come out on top.”