Rotherham United manager Paul Warne was on iFollow Millers press duty ahead of his side’s trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.
The Millers last visited the Premier League side in 2018, in the second round of the Carabao Cup and gave a good account of themselves, despite defeat.
On the agenda for the Millers boss were topics including preparing to face Everton, his January transfer plans and the progress of Joshua Kayode, who is on loan at Carlisle United.
You can read the highlights from the interview below, with video content to follow shortly HERE on iFollow Millers.
Warne on adapting to various fixture cancellations…
“It has been strange to say the least, we didn’t have the lads at the training ground for nine days and when we did get them back in we had waterlogged pitches. Obviously, that is no one’s fault, but it added to the difficulty of preparing.
“We also had a number of people who hadn’t even trained and others who had only trained a day.It was disappointing, because I’d have loved to have played Barnsley with our strongest team or the fittest we could have put out.
“I couldn’t fault the effort of the players who did play, we lost and Barnsley were the better side, but our performance was good given the circumstances.”
Warne on using the enforced break to recuperate after a tough fixture schedule…
“In the build up to the Cardiff game, we could only train for around 20 minutes because of the conditions, so again we were not in the best prepared state for the game. This week, we’ve had a couple of good training sessions already, so we’re in a better place in that respect.”
Warne on the progress of players who are out injured…
“Robbo (Clark Robertson) was out there with Jacob Gratton the other day on the grass, so he will join us next week and have a week training before the Derby game. It is too much to expect him to play in it, but whether he can travel, we will have a look at.
“It is the same with Shaun MacDonald, he will be training the week after Robbo. The week after we should get Kieran Sadlier back and then the week after that we could have Chieo (Ogbene) back. So aside from Joe Mattock we should have all of our long-term injured players back. That is really positive news and will feel like we have new signings.
“They have been sorely missed and we are really looking forward to having them back with us. We see them everyday in the physio room and it is hard for them, so it will be great to get them out on the grass as well.”
Warne on the January transfer window…
“This January some players will leave and hopefully we’ll get some fresh faces in as well. This is a very difficult window, If you watched Liverpool v Southampton on Monday, 7 players on the bench were academy players. Normally they are the ones that get filtered down and everyone moves players. There’s a lot less movement this window than I’ve seen in previous. Everyone is working really hard and trying to make us as good as we can be.
“Transfer windows are really tough and obviously we’re competing with really good sides. We will endeavour to get players in that will improve the side but also fit well into the dressing room. I spoke to a manager recently and he said that his best signing in January was someone who played the least. They were a positive influence around the group and they were in a relegation battle. You have to look at what they do on the pitch obviously, but they have to buy into what we do here and what environment they are going to come into.
Warne on Joshua Kayode’s progress at Carlisle…
“There’s been a lot of loan interest in Joshua Kayode, he’s doing really well and playing well as well. I think his pace and power is attracting a lot of clubs and he has a long throw as well. For his development, this is the reason we loaned him out, we wanted him to improve and see if he has stepped enough to play a part for us when he comes back in the summer.
“Fundamentally, I could bring him back and he could play 10 minutes in the next 20 games and that isn’t going to help him or us in the long run. So JJ will stay out on loan for the foreseeable and hopefully he’ll continue to keep growing as a player.”
Warne on having Dale Tonge at Roundwood on a temporary basis recently…
“I’ve always got on well with Tongey, unfortunately with the way football is, there are a lot of good people out of a job. I always invite people in to watch us work and have a say. I’m close with him, so I told him if he thought there was anything he thought we could improve, then say it. I’m not above criticism, anything but, all I want is the best for the team.
“It was the perfect opportunity to get him out of the house, he came on a voluntary basis and I was really pleased with him. He’s really knowledgeable about the game, he’s a really good coach and he’s got a good history with the club, all those reasons were why I was happy for him to come in.”
Warne on the benefits of hearing different opinions…
“I’ve nicked this saying out of a book somewhere, ‘don’t be a prisoner to your own success,’ essentially it means just because you’ve done something one way doesn’t mean it can’t be done another. We get into that routine as human beings and we can’t help it, so I always like having people from outside coming in.
“For example, we’ve got players here who we’ve had for so long that we’ve come to a conclusion about them, in the sense that we know what they can and can’t do. Someone might come in and say ‘wow I really like him, he’s really good at that.’ When people like Tongey come in they can sometimes just hit the refresh button and we all need that from time to time.”
Warne on Everton…
“Any Premier League team is pretty phenomenal, we need a little bit of lady luck and hope we perform to our best to get a result, but that’s the fun of the cup really. We will go into the game with the same knowledge we have of every opponent, but they could play anyway and any team, as could we.
“We’ve just got to allow the lads to enjoy it, it’s still a day in their career that they will never get back and hopefully it can be an experience they remember forever. Hopefully they can make the town proud and all the fans can enjoy the game for what it is.
“When we played them two seasons ago, I thought we played well and took the game to them a little bit. Without crowds it is a little bit less intimidating as well. You want the lads to go out there, give a good account of themselves and enjoy it. I want to chew Carlo Ancelotti’s ear off about his book ‘quiet leadership’, which I thoroughly enjoyed and think is the best book in sport.”