Rotherham United manager Paul Warne was on iFollow Millers press duty ahead of Saturday’s South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wedensday at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The Millers welcome the Owls with plenty to discuss ahead of kick-off, following 1-0 victories for both team in midweek.
As well as touching on Wednesday, Warne gave an update on the fitness of Freddie Ladapo and Josh Vickers and on how the new signings are settling in at Roundwood.
Warne on the Morecambe win…
“I thought we were really good. For 25 minutes in the second half we were virtually unplayable.
“I was pleased with a lot of the aspects of our play, we created a lot of chances and obviously could have taken them, but that is just nit picking.
“Morecambe are a really good team who out-performed Ipswich, beat Shrewsbury and beat Blackburn away as well, so we were under no illusions of how tough it would be, so to get three points gave us a huge boost.
“It was a wonder goal from Smudge that won it, but I don’t think anyone who went to the game would think we didn’t deserve our win.”
Warne on two clean sheets out of three to start to campaign…
“Viktor has been ace, over the years we’ve had some really good goalkeepers and it is nice to have our own rather than a loan.
“Obviously, his goalkeeping is really good, but as a character as well in the dressing room he is fantastic.
“In general I’m really pleased with him, but as we know a clean sheet doesn’t just come from a goalkeeper.
“It comes from the whole team. In my opinion the front two have a big part to play with how they press and what happens behind them.
“In three games, I think Viktor has had one or two shots to save, so that is huge credit to the team and Viktor as well of course.”
Warne on how the new players are settling in…
“It takes time to get exactly what we want and I think aside from Tolaji, all the players have played a part in a league game.
“Everyone will play a part. We will need to keep refreshing the team throughout the season in different positions.
“It is all about the squad, lads can’t play every minute of the game and any changes we make don’t make us any weaker, it just makes us different.”
Warne on Michael Smith…
“His performance the other night was something else. He was shooting through the legs in the first half which I buzz off.
“I always tell strikers about that, you can’t always wait for the perfect chance because it may never come, you have to make something happen.
“I was really pleased for him to a score a goal like that, even though I had told him to pass it!
“His hold-up play, energy and determination can never be questioned. His overall conditioning and how he looks after himself gives him the best chance to perform every week.
“He’s had a great start to the season.”
Warne on how playing alongside Ladapo and Smith can help JJ’s development…
“I’ve just had JJ in my office and shown him a couple of things which I think may help him. Freddie and Smudge are two very good strikers for this level and the one above and to work alongside them can only help him as well.
“For him to be in the mix and holding his own is testament to how far he has come and how far he can go.
“He’s a young lad and it is our job as coaches to help him push to the next level.
“He hasn’t let anyone down in his games, anything but. He did really well the other night and long may it continue.”
Warne on Josh Vickers’ fitness…
“I know that Andy was speaking with the physio and Josh on what he can do in terms of kicking. He’s still fairly limited on what he can do on that front, but he’s still been doing handling.
“I’m hoping that he should be available in the next couple of weeks, but whether he’ll be available for the weekend, I honestly don’t know.”
Warne on Freddie Ladapo’s illness…
“Again, he’s training today, but whether he’ll be available I honestly don’t know again.
“When you’re ill and you’re not an elite athlete you can probably get through a day of work when you still aren’t feeling great, but running around like we demand is a different proposition.
“We’ll just monitor him in training and see how he is, we’ll need to see how fatigued he is after training as well before making a decision.
“Hopefully he can play a part.”
Warne on team news…
“The lads who played Tuesday night will do very little today, but there are no new injury issues at the moment.
“It was a competitive game but every one got through it fine, so we’re pleased with that.”
Warne on the prospect of back-to-back South Yorkshire derbies…
“I never needed a crowd to get me up for it, but I’m well aware some players prefer it. They need no motivation for a week like this.
“When you walk out onto the pitch and see the crowd your heart is racing. They all want to play a part obviously and it gives me nice headaches to try and pick the right teams to play the games.
“Once the game starts, it’s just 11 v 11, hopefully we’ll have enough to cause them problems and I’ll worry about Donny come 3pm on Saturday.”
Warne on whether last season’s results again the Owls will have a bearing on Saturday’s game…
“Our set of players isn’t too different, but theirs has changed. I’d like to think it would have some mental advantage for our players, but honestly I’m not too sure will.
“Both teams are going for it full of confidence and want to win the game, there will be an unbelievable atmosphere and that’s just how I see it.
“The games last year are gone, you’ve just got to let things go straight away and just focus on the here and now.”
Warne on Sheffield Wednesday’s summer recruitment…
“Lewis Wing is a very good player, they’ve recruited well in key positions, as Sheffield Wednesday should be able to do in League One.
“They have a lot more athleticism in the team than they had last year, in my opinion and I think they’ll have a really good season.
“For us to have a good season, we have to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the league and I think without question they are one of them.”
Warne on Darren Moore…
“I do like him, he’s very relaxed and a good football bloke. I just think his attitude towards life is really good.
“I think they’ll have a good season under him and their start to the season has been really good.
“The good thing about our place is that the dugouts are really far apart, so I’ll shake his hand before the game, but when it is going on it’ll be all out war between the two of us.”