ROTHERHAM United’s caretaker manager Paul Warne is not planning to open any festive gifts until 5pm on Christmas Day – but you sense that there is only one present for which he is truly hankering.
Hopefully, that will arrive 24 hours later with the Millers picking up three cherished Yuletide points at the expense of one of his former clubs in Wigan Athletic in front of a holiday crowd at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
One of the joys of Christmas is spending time with family and friends and it will be no different for the Warne family – although the caretaker boss admits that gloss would be provided when they wind down on Boxing Day evening if the Millers have secured just their third Championship victory of the season.
Warne said: “Boxing Day is good because my brother and four nieces come over from Norfolk. They come to the game normally.
“Then I have another Christmas night with them. It is good for the kids because they are getting to the stage where they do not think me and my wife are cool anymore.
“They get to have some fun with their cousins. But it is obviously better if we win.”
A long day will unfold for family man Warne on Christmas Day, but not at the expense of his professional commitments with the Millers players in training on Christmas morning for a hopefully swift session in preparation for Boxing Day.
A fitness fanatic and consummate professional in his playing days, anyone who knows Warne will be unsurprised by that development, with plenty of family time on one of the most special days of the year afforded players and staff afterwards.
On how a hectic day will pan out, Warne, who has two children, added: “In the Warne house, we are full of Christmas joy. Christmas Day is a big thing.
“I will get up at the crack of dawn, probably about 6am. The kids open their presents from Santa. Mayhem.
“I will go to training, come back and then the kids will start opening the presents from the family.
“They get irritated by me because I like making Christmas last. Mainly because I have paid for most of it.
“I don’t even start to open my presents until about 5pm. I don’t feel like I can open anything before I go to work.
“I have always gone training, even in the Ronnie (Moore) days when I did not have to.
“I used to go for a run in Herringthorpe (athletics stadium) with Richie Barker because we were sport ‘geeks’ and had to train.
“The lads will be in and out reasonably quickly as long as they get the preparation in.”
Meanwhile, Warne says that the club will give serious thought to the prospect of recalling midfield anchorman Richie Smallwood from his loan spell at Scunthorpe early in the new year.
He said: “I have always liked Richie, he has done a good job for us here.
“I have not got to make a decision until January 10, but I respect what Scunny have done. He is their player, but I will give it some serious thought.”