Rotherham United manager Paul Warne was on iFollow Millers press duty ahead of his side’s clash with promotion-chasing Swansea City at AESSEAL New York Stadium tomorrow.
The Millers will boosted by some impressive recent displays heading into the fixture with the Swans, none more so than Wednesday night’s 3-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside, Warne reflected on that performance and the form of his team.
Unfortunately, the gaffer delivered some bad news on Chiedozie Ogbene, who has suffered an injury setback. This sadly means the fans’ favourite is due for a further spell on the sidelines. Warne revealed the extend of the injury, as well as offering the winger his full support following the news.
You can read the highlights from his interview below, with video content to follow shortly HERE on iFollow Millers.
Warne on Wednesday night’s win at Middlesbrough…
“I was really pleased, I thought we could have won by a bigger margin, but on the other hand we also could have conceded as well. Overall, I was really pleased, I thought that if the lads played at their absolute best we could win there.
“They had played on the Sunday, whereas we’d not played for eight days, obviously goals change games and Crooksy scored to deservedly put us ahead at half time. They came back at us and Jamal Blackman made a crucial save at a big time and then we were fortunate enough to take two more goals.
“I thought the performance was good, we limited them to few chances and it was a good away performance. I wouldn’t like to single anyone out, but to see our front two players score is really good and there were some really good performances, it was a great day at the office.”
Warne on winning successive away games…
“Obviously, we’re just trying to win as many games as we can. I think this year away games are probably not as intimidating without fans in, so I feel it’s more of a level playing field. I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that we feel we’re in a good run of form, all we can do is try and turn out performance and recently the lads have been excellent.
“We were really good against Derby and it shows how well we’ve played considering the two wins they picked up after playing us. We did everything we could to win the game at home to Stoke and again against Middlesbrough, to get three points was really rewarding and it certainly shows we’re going in the right direction.”
Warne on the form of Michael Smith and Matt Crooks…
“His (Michael Smith’s) performances have been excellent, I think in fairness Freddie and George have been fantastic in training as well, so that has pushed the standards right up and both are edging the get on the pitch.
“Smudge is having a good run in the side, he looks confident and match-sharp and he has a great understanding with Crooksy which helps, although of course a striker is only as good as the service he gets.
“I have a lot of admiration at the moment for my midfielders, I think everyone in the middle is putting a monumental shift in. I’ve always loved Crooksy, I don’t think he had the greatest start to the season, but not all players do, but he is definitely a player in form at the moment.
“I’m really pleased with him, he’s a goal threat and the fact he’s getting goals is making him a lot more confident to shoot more, which will mean he should get more. Hopefully that will continue.”
Warne on Jamal Blackman’s recent displays…
“Jamal was excellent against Boro, he swept really well and took up some great positions. He came for a couple of crosses late on when we were under the cosh and made a great save midway through the second half, which was a real turning point. A clean sheet in the Championship is something to be admired and we’ve had a couple in recent weeks, we’re really pleased.”
Warne on keeping successive clean sheets away from home in the Sky Bet Championship…
“We do a lot of work with the back five/three on distances and lines, showing them videos of where the can improve. Fundamentally though, its all about character, the lads put their bodies on the line and threw themselves in front of shots.
“You’re never going to play a game where the opposition don’t create openings, but we’re pleased with how they stood up to it. I think Woody (Richard Wood) was excellent and marshalled the defence really well, he’s another on a good run of form.
“They are in a good place at the moment, but I’m not naive enough to suggest that Boro didn’t have chances to score, because they did. The job is to protect the ‘keeper as well as they can and in recent weeks they’ve certainly tired.”
Warne on potential movement in the January transfer window…
“I think two will be on their way out, one permanently and one on loan. I think that will take us to around 24 players in the squad. I’m hopeful of getting possibly one more in, we earmarked a midfielder or a centre-forward.
“We have five midfielders for four positions and I think we could do with another pair of legs in their because they put so much effort into games, so to think they can play 90 minutes every game for the next three months is optimistic, so I think we need an extra body to help them out.”
Warne on team news…
“There are no injuries or concerns from the game against Middlesbrough. Dan Barlaser is self-isolating, so he won’t be available for the game this weekend.
“Kieran Sadlier is doing okay, he still gets a little bit of pain in his ankle, he’ll train on the grass today.”
Warne on an injury setback for Chieo Ogbene…
“I’m afraid it is bad news on Chieo, his knee blew up this week, he’s seen the surgeon and it looks like he’s back with the specialist today. This means he’s under review and we'll have more clarity in the next week or so on the extent of the setback, but he will be out for longer than originally expected which is a massive blow.
“It is a massive blow for the squad, as well as the poor kid. He’s been through a lot of rehab for his injury and he’s pretty heartbroken at the moment.
“We thought he was going to be back by the end of January, but it unfortunately isn’t good news, as ever though, he has our full support and love.”
Warne on Swansea City…
“Steve Cooper has done really well there. They’ve just signed Conor Hourihane who is a Premier League player, so that is an amazing addition. They have Andrew Ayew and Jamal Lowe up top who are two of the better strikers in this league.
“They have a set style and recruit managers and coaches that suit that style, they have a real tradition of playing expansive football and are difficult to play against. He’s (Steve Cooper) a really likeable bloke and I think he’s done really well. I don’t think anyone would have expected them to be in the top two, so for them to be in that position is testament to what they are doing at that club.
“We’ve competed really well against good teams at home, we have to be at our best to come away with a good result. That is something we’re going to try and do and something we believe we can do.”