ROTHERHAM UNITED’S never-say-die band of players may have received plenty of pats on the back of late – but Paul Raynor insists someone else is also worthy of a mention.
Namely Paul Warne, with assistant-manager Raynor feeling the players’ depths of stamina has helped get them over the line in the past two weeks, thanks in no small part to the fitness coach, a workaholic forward in his playing days for the club.
Late goals from Lee Frecklington and Alex Revell ensured a combined total of six points and not two were accrued from the recent home games against Stevenage and Leyton Orient, while on January 26, a penalty deep into stoppage-time from Kieran Agard salvaged a point against Crawley, again at the New York Stadium.
Those points have helped firmly consolidate the Millers’ place in the play-offs, with Steve Evans’s fifth-placed side seven points clear of the team currently one place outside of the top-six in Walsall.
Hailing the energy of the Millers, hoping to continue their remarkable recent away streak at Carlisle United this afternoon, Raynor said: “People haven’t really mentioned the fitness levels. But we are really coming on strong in games now and Paul Warne has got to take some credit for that.
“The gaffer puts things in place and Paul gets them out on the training ground and the players work very hard on their fitness levels.
“That has played its part in recent games along with character and quality as well.”
The Millers may have been slightly fortuitous in taking three points last time out against Stevenage, but the last thing they will be caught doing is making any apologies for that, according to Raynor.
He added: “We didn’t play well, but we managed to take three points.
“We have certainly had the boot on the other foot where we have played very well and come away with a draw or got nothing.
“We would all like to win perfectly, but football is not like that. We’ll certainly take a scrappy win however it comes and it was absolutely fantastic we showed some grit and determination and came out on top.
“Those are the games that might make all of the difference at the end of the season.”