Bristol City v Rotherham United '“ Paul Warne considering fresh approach to team selection

EVEN accounting for some unwanted recent events, Rotherham United will regard 2018 as a year to remember.

Zak Vyner, left, cannot play today for Rotherham United against his parent club Bristol City (Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire).

Promotion back to the second tier at the first time of asking on a glorious Spring afternoon at Wembley in May represented the pinnacle, but there have been several other noteworthy highlights against the likes of Derby County, Swansea City, Sheffield United and Scunthorpe United.

The hardcore band of Millers supporters will head in hope rather than expectation to Ashton Gate on Saturday given the club’s epic travelsickness at second-tier level and run of eight matches without a win. Perspective, however, should not be hard to find.

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Paul Warne’s side, despite comfortably possessing the lowest budget of any Championship club, remain out of the bottom three – but how those who travel to the West Country would love one final twist to crown the passing calendar year.

After a disappointing Boxing Day setback at Bolton Wanderers, the Millers are likely to freshen up their starting line-up against a Robins side who are unbeaten in their last six outings and showing signs of progression after a slow start to the campaign.

Warne is also likely to be mindful of a home appointment with Preston North End on Tuesday, with his selection approach expected to be pragmatic on Saturday afternoon.

The Millers’ chief, who will be without Zak Vyner – ineligible under the terms of his loan from Saturday’s hosts – said: “The way we play is high energy and there is a thin line between freshening it up and weakening it.

“If your best players are the ones who are tired it is difficult to try and pull them out, but sometimes you have to do it for the greater good.

“We do have a really good squad and there is not much difference between the ones who are and are not playing. But we will look to freshen it up even if it is by two or three players.

“We will also have to freshen it up for the game on New Year’s Day.”

Vyner’s absence could provide an opportunity to experienced defender Billy Jones, who has been patiently waiting for his chance with his last appearance coming in the home game with Bolton back on October 20.

Warne added: “It is a game we will not have Zak for. Billy could come in as he has been waiting for his chance. If he comes in and performs really well then it is his shirt.

“That is the way we are here and everyone knows that.”