Rotherham United Analysis and Opinion

Rotherham boss Paul Warne admitted there were fresh injury worries affecting the first team ahead of his club’s Championship clash against recently relegated Stoke City. 

Rotherham welcome the Potters to the AESSEAL New York Stadium at 5:30 pm, with the game being broadcast on Sky. Both clubs find themselves on 9 points from 9 games and will be looking to push themselves away from the relegation zone. 

Warne spoke in depth about Rotherham’s playing style, both on and off the ball.

“We have to be competitive,” Warne said.
“This week, we know we have to send them down the wings and get rid of the crosses. We are different to most teams in this league as we play fast football. We try to get the ball from one box to the other as effectively as possible.” 

The Rotherham boss reckons that the side can use this to their advantage. He said,

“Most clubs in this division play possession-based football. We played Rochdale last season, and they played this way too, which is strange in League One. They were very effective, and beat us deservedly.”

Set pieces have already proven key to Rotherham’s success this season. A penalty winner against Derby and a goal from a corner against Millwall have won the team 6 points already. Warne knows the importance of set pieces. He said,

“Chances in this league are few and far between. We need to take these chances.”

Warne believes that Stoke are probably due a win. He said,

“Stoke haven’t lost a lot of games this season, they just haven’t won. They have been excellent in parts of games, such as the first half against Sheffield Wednesday. They have some great players, but probably aren’t as defensively sound as they could be. (Rotherham) need to remember it’s 11v11; forget the names on the back of the shirts”

Warne was keen to stress the importance of the fans and anxiety for this game. He said,

“Before the goal against Derby, the fans were brilliant. After the goal, it was quieter; more nervous. Anxiety is huge in football. We can’t have anxiety in the crowd, as it will spread to the players.”

He also talked about the anxiety in the opposing dressing room. Warne believes that Stoke will be ‘desperate’ for the win, and that could be a good thing.

“We need to take advantage of any nervous play from them”, he said.

Warne believes it’s difficult to predict the Championship this season. He said,

“Everyone is beating everyone. It’s a difficult league to get wins in. Everyone is struggling for form; no team is stringing wins together. It’s very hard to choose a top two.”

On his own side, Warne has been impressed. Despite Rotherham’s poor run of form away from home in the Championship, he has been impressed with the performances. He said,

“The lads have a belief that they are capable, and can have an effect on the ball. The win is coming. Apart from Brentford, we have played well away from home. Last week, we were probably the better side; we just didn’t have the luck on the day.”

In terms of injuries, two players join Clark Robertson and Sean Raggett on the injury table. Warne refused to admit who these were, but both injuries were ‘picked up in the Forest game’. The lay off time for both is ‘3-4 weeks and 6 weeks’. Joe Newell is back to full fitness, however, and will be available.