ROTHERHAM UNITED’S manager Neil Warnock has professed surprise that Hull City have not secured Championship promotion by the conventional top-two route, having tipped them to be champions.
The sides head into today’s derby in contrasting spirits, with Millers supporters, safe in the knowledge that their side will be playing second-tier football next season, relishing a final-day carnival at a Yorkshire rival for the second year running – akin to the party vibe at Elland Road 12 months ago.
Warnock will be wholly entitled to lap up the adulation from fans desperate for him to commit to the club next season; a decision is likely later this month.
While he may be a picture of contentment, his counterpart Steve Bruce is counting down the days to the first leg of Hull’s play-off semi-final against Derby next Saturday.
Developments today at the KC Stadium and at the iPro Stadium will determine where that game takes place.
Ultimately it has been left to Burnley, Middlesbrough and Brighton to battle it out for automatic promotion at the season’s business end and not Hull.
The Tigers being absent from the fray is a development that would have shocked many at the end of January – and most definitely Warnock, who said: “Steve has done a really good job over the years there and I take my hat off to him. They have a lovely stadium and a very good squad.
“(But) I thought Hull would be top of the pile, if I am honest.
“Steve will be desperate to take them up. The play-offs will be really difficult.
“I remember thinking that I did not want to go to Hull (having) to get a result.
“It is nice that we have got no worries and people can go there and have a nice day out and hopefully we will get a result to enjoy it.”
Remaining coy regarding his own future, Warnock – who will include talented youngster Darnelle Bailey-King on the bench – added: “I’m under contract until the end of May and no doubt by then we will have made a decision one way or the other.”