Reunion days coming thick and fast for Rotherham United manager Paul Warne

REUNION days will come in plentiful supply for Rotherham United players over the next three games.

It starts off on Wednesday evening when former Millers striker Jerry Yates makes his first return to his old club in the colours of Blackpool.

Saturday sees Rotherham renew acquaintances with midfielder Matt Crooks for the first time since he moved to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2021, while Lee Peltier returns to the club he left in June.

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Just for good measure, the Millers' first game after the international break is at home to a Wigan Athletic side who include ex-defender Curtis Tilt in their ranks alongside Rarmani Edmonds-Green, who spent last term on loan at Rotherham.

While Doncaster-born Yates never, by common consent, quite cracked it with the Millers, the way in which he has rebuilt his career on the Fylde coast speaks volumes about his aptitude and career.

That said, one of his two league goals with the club will always be fondly recalled by Paul Warne.

Early on in Warne's tenure as caretaker, Yates netted in a win for Rotherham against Warne's boyhood club Norwich City on an emotional day for the Millers manager and his family in January 2017. It was one of just five league victories in that torrid campaign.

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Warne said: “You sort of forget that there are only a few in our dressing room that played with him. He was brilliant here and I loved working with him.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne. Picture: Press Association.Rotherham United manager Paul Warne. Picture: Press Association.
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne. Picture: Press Association.

“He actually came back and bought the coaching staff a bottle of champagne each which is really impressive as a character. He's a great kid who has done really well, as I always knew he would.

“I look forward to seeing him before and after the game but I won't enjoy watching him causing my back line any problems!"

“We had a team meeting and showed them how hard Jerry works and what a good player he is."

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Warne has professed to mixed feelings at the postponement of last weekend's South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield United, with the major positive likely to revolve around the fact that defensive duo Grant Hall and Cameron Humphreys have not missed an additional game and add to their options for the game against Pool.

Hall, ineligible to face parent club Boro on Saturday, is likely to come into Warne's thoughts in particular, with the fact that his side will now negotiate a two-game week before the international break and as opposed to the three he had been expecting prior to last Friday being another factor to consider.

He added: “I spoke to Hally when we trained on Friday - he was standing on the side of the pitch watching it.

“I said that when you're injured, it's great when games get called off because you think you can play a part in more games.

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“Those two (Hall and Humphreys) have trained this week. You win some like that, but the opposition have the same joy of getting players back.”

Warne insists he had no issue whatsoever in the league's decision to call off the weekend programme as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth II, with the disruption minimal, particularly among those established squad members who have learned coped with all manner of postponements during the past few seasons.

"You get many games called off as a footballer for things from waterlogged pitches to Covid, so it wasn't a massive challenge in terms of training plans really,” he commented.Last six games: Rotherham DDLWLD; Blackpool LWDDLW.

Referee: M Salisbury (Lancashire)

Last time: Rotherham 2 Blackpool 1, January 1, 2020; League One.