Rotherham United manager Paul Warne spoke to the local media ahead of his side’s Sky Bet League One fixture with Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day.
With games across the country falling victim to the current spike in Covid-19 infections across the country, the boss remains hopeful of the game taking place as scheduled.
Also on the agenda were the team’s performance levels over recent weeks and his assessment of Stanley.
Warne on the current situation regarding Covid-19…
“At the moment we have no Covid issues or injuries that we know of. I’m not in touch with Accrington personally, but as far as I’m aware, as it stands the game is on. Hopefully, that’ll be the case come Boxing Day.
“In terms of our preparation, I can’t say it has been impacted, because we haven’t had Covid issues up to now.
“Obviously, there is a lot of time between now and Boxing day and I’m always dreading a phone call coming in, but at the moment we’re planning for the game as normal and the lads are all fit raring to keep going.”
Warne on calls for a ‘circuit-breaker’...
“I’m not a fan of the two week break, because there is still the chance of getting it when we come back and then we will be completely snookered and have a fixture pile-up.
“The only thing I would like to see is extra subs and five available to use. With this amount of games, enabling us to make more changes would allow us to keep our players healthier.
“Managers at the top level aren’t complaining about training or playing, it is just the fixture pile-up during this period.
“That would be the one change I’d make.”
Warne on performance levels over recent weeks...
“I think we’ve been okay without being at our sparkling best. At this stage it is just about winning games. We’ve played well in stages and not won, with Lincoln away being one of our better displays without getting a result we wanted.
“We have to drive performance and our overall effort and drive is there. No one is getting too carried away with themselves.
“To get promoted or to achieve anything, you don’t have to always be outstanding, you just need to get results.
“They are really tough games, I thought Cambridge were a really good team and gave us a real contest.
“I’m not saying we’re riding our luck or anything like that, however the opposition have been playing really well against us in recent weeks and no one is ever going to roll over for us, football just isn’t like that.”
Warne on topping the table at Christmas…
“I like being top of the league, it pushes standards in training and allows us to do what we want with the team because the lads trust the process.
“We just want to collect as many points as we can, we have some tough months ahead and we know that, so it is imperative that we continue to get the results on the board.
“I’ve said to the lads today that with a lot of games off again on Boxing Day, the importance of picking up results could make the table look even better.
“At the moment, a lot of teams are doing really well, we always keep an eye on the table and results, because we have to.”
Warne on the January transfer window…
“I’m not going into it with any fear, I’ve had some candid conversations with some players and I’ve got a really good relationship with the Chairman.
“Everyone has their price, of course, but I don’t think we’re going to lose anyone unless someone comes in with a big offer.
“I think there’s one position on the pitch we could maybe strengthen. Of course, there are some players who may not be playing as much as they’d like but their attitude has been spot on and we all know that we will need everyone.
“I want to keep this group together and if finish January how we’re entering it I’d be really happy."
Warne on Accrington Stanley…
“There’s a lot of things I like about them. They are similar to us and know who they are, I’ve always liked that.
“I know John Coleman and Jimmy Bell are coming up to their 20 year anniversary with Stanley, which is really impressive, especially in modern football.
“They always seem to have really good attacking players. They have Bishop up top who would get into pretty much every League One team and a really good backline.
“They work so hard, press, stay close and make it really hard for teams. They embody their management team.”