Rotherham United manager Paul Warne was on iFollow Millers press duty ahead of another Sky Bet League One away assignment on Saturday.
The Millers travel to Kassam Stadium to take on Oxford United with team news and what to expect from their opponents high on the agenda.
The manager also reflected on a strong midweek showing which saw his team win against Ipswich on Tuesday, while also touching upon the competition for places at Roundwood.
Warne on Ipswich win…
“It was nice, my best mate from school ia an Ipswich fan, so it is always nice when we win against them and I get a text off him!
“As an away performance, it was pretty faultless. We knew with the way they played, that we would need to drop our strikers in to counter them flooding the middle of the pitch.
“So I was really pleased and really appreciative of the fans who made the effort to travel up and support us.
“It was a really good win and a good performance, with some very good displays from everyone involved.
“It was a real team effort, we limited them to very few chances. It was a privilege to watch my team play.”
Warne on Richard Wood…
“I thought Woody was excellent on Tuesday and was leading the backline extremely well. We’re about to go into the meeting and show the lads his clips.
“Show them what he does, not just on the ball, but how he organises. You can see him pulling the line up and all that stuff, his role is integral to our success.”
Warne on receiving praise from opposition managers…
“It was really nice of him, I spoke very highly of his side before the game and I still think they are a really good team.
“Unfortunately for them, we were at our absolute best and that’s football. Sometimes if the opposition have outplayed you, you have to just give them credit and move on.
“It was nice of him to speak so highly of us.”
Warne on competition for places…
“We know anyone can come in and do a good job for the team. I didn’t have Tolaji Bola or Joe Mattock on the bench on Tuesday, so we’re blessed with a really good squad where everyone knows their jobs.”
Warne on players stepping in as ‘the next man up’…
“At the weekend the players who came in did well. I thought Sadlier did really well when he came in against Cambridge, as well.
“It was great to have Jamie Lindsay back, as well for the Ipswich game. There’s nothing between the goalkeepers, I’m confident in either of them to go out and play.
“Freddie and Smudge are in really good form upfront, Griggy and JJ are now waiting for their chance again, which they will get in the coming weeks.
“We’re really blessed with the competition for places here and it’s a great place to be.”
Warne on getting better at delivering the news to players who miss out…
“My skin is a little bit more leathered than it was five years ago, but it is never easy. When we go to Ipswich it isn’t ideal to take a senior pro like Joe Mattock all the way there and not use him at all.
“However, during these covid times, by the morning we could have three players out. It is essential to take big squads to games and to make them all feel part of it.
“If we are successful this year, it will be because of everyone, no matter how big or small a part they think they have played.”
Warne on keeping the lads grounded after a good run of form…
“We always recruit good people here, the lads know how hard they have to train and how hard they have to play to stay in the team.
“Josh Vickers felt his groin and I heard him say ‘I’ve worked so hard to get into the team gaffer, I don’t want to come out.’
“So they know how hard it is to get in the squad. Competition for places is so high that lads know they can’t afford to lose the shirt, so that takes care of itself.
“We’re about to show them what we liked and didn’t like from the Cambridge game, so you have to always keep driving standards up.
“With the Cambridge game for example, they created loads of chances against us and played really well. If Ipswich would have created the same number they’d have taken them because their chance creation to conversion ratio is so high.
“We can enjoy the wins obviously, but by the time the bus has arrived back the stadium, we’re already focusing on the next game.”
Warne on Josh Vickers…
“I don’t know if he is getting scanned today or anything like that. Gilps – who has superman eyes! – doesn’t think it is going to be a long-term thing and he’ll probably be okay to come off the bench.”
Warne on Ollie Rathbone…
“He’s feeling good. He trained with the youth team on Tuesday, my son said he was ‘quite good’ in training, which is as good a compliment as you’ll get from the Warne household!
“We could have taken him to Ipswich and he could’ve played a part as I keep saying, but Jamie Lindsay was the ‘next man up’ and did really well.
“Now it’s Ollie’s job to try and get back in.”
Warne on team news…
“We don’t have any other injuries at the moment, everyone is good. We’ve got two training sessions to get through before Oxford, but at the moment, there’s no dramas.”
Warne on Oxford…
“Obviously Richie is really close to Karl, so we like to think we have a good understanding of how they think. They predominantly played with a 4-3-3 and inverted wingers, a little like Ipswich.
“They’ve been together a little longer, so are arguably a little more polished, meaning no disrespect to Ipswich.
“In terms of form, they are doing really well and won comfortably in midweek. We’re expecting another game where they ask loads of questions defensively. It is going to take another big team effort to perform at Oxford, because we know how good they are, especially at home.
Warne on coming up against Anthony Ford and Ryan Williams…
“It’ll be nice to see them, they are two great lads and I think the world of both of them. It is always a little surreal when you see your former players playing for another team.
“It’ll be great to see them and we’ll wish them well, after the game, of course.”