Rotherham United v AFC Wimbledon: Paul Warne pondering changes to manage Millers’ workload

Paul Warne spent yesterday mulling over whether Rotherham United can push Richard Wood through a first midweek match this season, or whether to change a formation that has worked well.

The Millers host Wimbledon in League One tonight with Warne largely satisfied with how his team is playing, even if lax finishing at times has denied them all the points he thinks they merit.

They have been built on a 3-5-2 but with Wes Harding suspended, Joe Mattock’s Achilles making him a major doubt and Warne trying to manage Wood physically, it might be hard rustling up the personnel.

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With the exception of a second-half run-out at Morecambe, captain Wood has played every Saturday and missed every midweek of the campaign so as not to ask too much of the 36-year-old.

Millers manager Paul Warne. Picture: Tony Johnson

“We’ve been having the conversation before I spoke to you guys about it,” revealed Warne before yesterday’s training.

“You think if I play him on Tuesday I won’t have him on Saturday but I will have Wes back.

“If I do start Woody, which I’m considering, there’s a very good chance he could be coming off so that’s already one of my subs gone.

“The other thing is he could get injured and I miss him for three or four weeks.”

It would be easier if Football League sides still had five substitutes, as they did last season as a concession to Covid-19. Now, three from five can be used in League One.

“I would absolutely buzz off five subs,” said Warne. “It allows you to change it tactically and look after your players.”

Chopping and changing the back three is far from ideal, but Rotherham have little choice.

“Historically the best teams that have won things, it was the other players that moved along a bit,” argued Warne. “If I could play Woody every single game I would but it’s common sense that I can’t; if I could play Joe Mattock every single game I possibly would.”

Warne, who is also set to be without wing-back Mickel Miller, is even considering changing formation, most likely to 4-3-3.

Last six games: Rotherham United DWDLWW; Wimbledon WWDWDW

Referee: A Haines (Tyne and Wear)

Last time: Rotherham United 3 Wimbledon 1, November 8, 2003, Division One (second tier).