MANAGER Stuart McCall has warned his Bradford City side to brace themselves for a reaction from a “fired-up” Rotherham United at Valley Parade tonight.
The Checkatrade Trophy may be well down the list of priorities this season for both McCall and his Millers counterpart Paul Warne, but for the latter, tonight’s Northern Group F encounter has assumed a degree of importance in the light of weekend events.
Warne cut a downcast figure after the Millers’ late exit from the FA Cup in Saturday’s 2-1 first-round loss at Crewe Alexandra and admits that some players will be keen on getting “a few demons out” this evening.
After fielding a shadow side in the Millers’ opening two Trophy matches, Warne is likely to name a stronger line-up in a game that his side must win to maintain their slim hopes of progressing into the next stages of the competition, along with Bradford.
McCall, who will involve Dominic Poleon and Shay McCartan tonight, while Rouven Sattelmaier starts in goal, said: “It is against a side in our division who, on the back of getting beaten in the FA Cup, might decide to keep in a few from Saturday.
“So we might be up against a fired-up side. Plus, if Rotherham want to progress, they need to win.
For us, it would be nice, even though we are through, to finish on top, so that we get a home draw in the next round.Stuart McCall
“For us it would be nice, even though we are through, to finish on top, so that we get a home draw in the next round.
“They might be a little stronger in their selection than ourselves. But we have had some good performances from the younger ones, so I am looking forward to the game.”
The Millers have picked up just one point from their two Trophy games so far, but the healing process following Saturday’s events will be aided if they produce a positive result, as Warne acknowledges.
On his selection this evening, Warne, whose side face the first of two Yorkshire derbies with the Millers visiting Doncaster Rovers in League One on Saturday lunch-time, admitted: “I might look at it a little bit differently than I intended to. Some of the lads might need to play a few demons out.
“I suppose that is the advantage of having a game on Tuesday. It will allow us to put to bed Saturday pretty quickly.”