Rotherham United manager Paul Warne took time out to speak to iFollow Millers at Roundwood this week.
The Millers will take a pause from competitive action this weekend, with their Sky Bet League One fixture against Shrewsbury Town postponed due to international call-ups.
There was still plenty to discuss with the Gaffer, including his team’s form, competition for places and the international break.
The boss also provided an update on the fitness of midfielder Hakeem Odoffin, who was substituted early in Saturday’s game due to concussion, whilst also providing an update on the fitness of Michael Smith, Jamie Lindsay and Joe Mattock.
You can read highlights from the interview below, with videos to appear HERE on iFollow Millers shortly…
Warne on Bromley win…
“I thought we started the game really well, we don’t look down on any team and we always want the lads to be at their best to win any football game.
“I thought their attitude was spot on from start to finish. I was pleased we came through injury free and got our name in the hat.
“It’s nice to go through, in fairness to Bromley, they didn’t just come and sit 10 men behind the ball, which made it more of a free flowing game.
“The only sad thing is that Haks didn’t get another run out, but Viktor did well and Freddie and Griggy both scored.
“All in all, it was a perfect day and to get a home draw in the next round is great news as well.
“The one thing we didn’t want is a replay. You look at the League One teams who have replays next week and it is just an extra game you don’t really need, so it was nice to get the job done.”
Warne on his side’s form in the last ‘block’ of fixtures…
“I said at the start of the last ‘block’ of games, that if we ended it in the top six, we’d have a chance of being real contenders because I think it was our toughest run of games so far.
“Of course, when we get back we’ve got more difficult matches, but we’re really pleased with our points return so far.
“We would, of course, have liked to have held on at Charlton and beat Wycombe but you can’t win every game.
“I think performances have been really good. The lads are keeping clean sheets, scoring goals and making chances, long may that continue.”
Warne on Hakeem Odoffin’s concussion recovery…
“He isn’t training with the group because he has to go through all the concussion protocols. He knows where he is today, so that’s a benefit!
“He has to go through everything to make sure he hasn’t got any ill-effects, it is good to be thorough because we know the risks.
“It was a shame for Hakeem, but he will get his opportunity in the next few weeks I’m sure.”
Warne on Michael Smith’s fitness…
“He dropped out of training on Friday with a sore ankle. If we had to throw him on, we could have. Smudge has been great for us, but so has everyone else, so we’re still a good team with or without him.
“As I speak today, he is training, so I think he is fine.”
Warne on other injury news…
“Ben Wiles is training, but Mickel Miller isn’t, I think we need to give him a little bit of time to rest up from his injury.
“Jamie Lindsay is back training today, which is good and Joe Mattock is back next week, which is also great news.”
Warne on competition for places in midfield following Jamie Lindsay’s return to training…
“The midfield three have been excellent, Haks is chomping at the bit to get in as well, but the midfield has probably been our standout section of the team.
“They’ve played every minute and have been near enough faultless. Jamie will have to play himself back in, he might need a run out or two before being involved.
“It is difficult to get in the team and even difficult to get on the bench. For example, Tolaji Bola was excellent when he came on against Bromley and he didn’t make the bench against Charlton.
“No player is guaranteed a place, even if they are injured through no fault of their own and the lads know that, hence why the standard of training is so good.
“Jamie has got a challenge ahead of him to win his place back, but he loves a challenge.”
Warne on Ladapo and Grigg both getting themselves on the scoresheet in recent matches…
“It was good for them to both score and JJ has been coming on and been having an impact. He’s away on international duty this week, so we’ll be keeping an eye on that.
“We’ll watch Cambridge and It may well be the case that he suits the game more than the other two.
“We’ve got a bit of time between the fixture and anything can happen between now and then.
“We’ve got really good strikers and we’re fortunate with the depth we have. We’re coming up to the difficult part of the season where injuries really start to bite, so we’re going to need everyone.”
Warne on the goalkeeping department…
“Josh has been excellent, as has Viktor but again, they have to be excellent because as soon as they aren’t, the other is in.
“It all just helps to push standards right through training. I think the goalkeeping unit is the best we’ve ever had here.
“They get really well trained by Andy and they are a brilliant unit. They are always in the gym first thing in the morning and out on the grass before the other lads.
“What I like about the senior two especially, is that they both have an impact in the meetings and they both understand the game.
“I’ve been really please with everyone and I don’t think I’ve got much to complain about. Everyone is really happy and looking forward to a couple of days downtime.”
Warne on plans for the international break…
“It can never come at a bad time, me and the staff and everyone really are looking forward to getting away for a little bit.
“I’m looking forward to going back home to Norfolk at the weekend. At the start of next week, we’ve got games to watch.
“Richie is off to Northampton v Cambridge, I’m going to Oldham against Ipswich and we’re going to others.
“On Saturday, we could watch a game, but I would rather everyone just had a weekend away from work.”
Warne on the benefits of a break in the action…
“It’s really nice to be able to spend time on the training pitch with the lads, without worrying about a game at the weekend.
“When there isn’t a game, you can intensify the training a little, because you aren’t worried about fatigue ahead of the weekend.
“Mentally, they are in a good place, not taking loads of information on and we can just touch up on a few things we feel we need to improve on.”
“Plus you have a bit more time to speak to people and be a little more productive, rather than a purely game focus.”
Warne on having three international players…
“It’s really good, especially considering we’re playing third tier. We joked with Shane that we signed him so we could have international breaks!
“Shane is a regular for Northern Ireland, I don’t want to jinx him but he continues to do well. JJ is in the early stages of his international career but is making fantastic progress.
“Chieo has really established himself as a solid call-up in recent times, which is great for him and will hopefully aid his development.
“It is great for the lads, I always tell them that loads of people come to watch them and you just never know who is keeping an eye on you.”