Paul Warne not afraid to promote Rotherham United’s prospects of Championship return

WHEN questioned about their side’s promotion prospects, the default mechanism of most managers is to instantly downplay it or suggest otherwise.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

As someone who rarely tries to dodge a question, Rotherham United manager Paul Warne is refreshingly not one of those who tries to play games.

While he is not naive enough to suggest his side will secure a third successive instant return to the Championship from League One after relegation, he is happy to state openly that he believes that they are well placed to do that if things drop into place.

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It is not overconfidence, more faith in his players and what he has at his disposal and events since late last month will have strengthened that feeling.

Two emphatic wins over Doncaster Rovers and a smooth end to the window which saw key players remain and Will Grigg join ensure the Millers are in a good place ahead of the resumption of league business against Fleetwood tomorrow.

On whether United can be in the promotion mix again, Warne said: “Yes, I do. I don’t know if that is putting pressure on myself or my players, I hope it doesn’t. But I have said it to their faces and am happy to put it out there.

“We have got a really good squad. Having a good team is one thing, but whereas good teams win games, good squads win promotion, really.

“You need strength in depth, which I think we have got. However, you do need form, luck and a lot of things.

“But I do think we have ticked a lot of boxes with our squad. Everyone bandies the word ‘culture’ about all the time, but I do think we have a good environment.

“I am not naive and being disingenuous. I do think we have got a good team full of good players and with a good run of luck, we could be there or thereabouts. But if we are not, then we are not and that comes on me.”

The retaining of talents who would walk into most League One line-ups such as Michael Smith, Chiedozie Ogbene, Ben Wiles and Jamie Lindsay was just as key a deadline-day development as the addition of Grigg and Warne admits he was delighted to avoid a ‘curveball’ at the end of the window.

He added: “It is a constant thorn and going into the last day of the transfer window, there is often a curveball and this year, we didn’t really have one.

“We did the day before when we had offers for a couple of our players. But it was very speculative.”