Rotherham United v Wycombe Wanderers - Learning on the job could prove key for the Millers

THE uninitiated stumbling into Rotherham United manager Paul Warne’s office this evening might think they are just watching a group of middle-aged men putting the footballing world to rights.

They will be, but for the coaches who have just seen their teams go hammer-and-tongue at each other, it will also be an important education.

Sometimes in life, the more similar people are, the more they irritate each other but the rivalry between Rotherham and Wycombe Wanderers, visitors to New York Stadium tonight, is a friendly one according to Millers coach Matt Hamshaw.

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For more than two years the clubs have developed along similar lines, beating higher-profile, bigger-budget teams to promotion from League One in 2019-20, both narrowly relegated the following season and both in contention to go back up again.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne with Richie Barker. Picture: Tony Johnson

“We get on really well with Gareth (Ainsworth, Wycombe’s manager) and his staff, they’ve done a great job and I think we’ve done a half-decent job,” says Hamshaw. “We’ll have a chat after and find out where it went wrong for us last year, they’ll probably do the same.

“Hopefully we’ve beaten them and they come in disappointed as we have done numerous times when we’ve played them.

“I’m struggling with my Achilles at the minute but when we play tennis it gets really competitive between me, Andy (Warrington, the Millers’ goalkeeping coach), Richie (Barker, assistant manager) and the gaffer (Warne). We just want to win at everything but after the game we’ll have a drink and a chat and put some of the things that happened in the game right.”

It will be a chance to learn but then every day is a school day for Rotherham’s coaches.

Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth . Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

“We’re never off the phone, not speaking to people to ask, ‘What did you do there?’” says Hamshaw. “Over the last four years we have done that, just trying to be the best we can be every day. When you demand that from the players, why not from the staff?”

With the pair on the bench for Saturday’s 4-1 win over Portsmouth and a game at Milton Keynes Dons in four days, Rotherham could bring back wing-backs Chiedozie Ogbene and Shane Ferguson. They will also assess injuries to Viktor Johansson and Michael Ihiekwe.

Last six games: Rotherham United WWWDWD; Wycombe Wanderers WWLWWL

Referee: R Madley (Huddersfield)

Last time: Rotherham United 0 Wycombe Wanderers 3, April 5, 2021, Championship.