Paul Warne quick to embrace Rotherham United’s rivalry with Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers' Jon Taylor.
Doncaster Rovers' Jon Taylor.
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Rotherham United manager Paul Warne is the first to confess that the Millers’ rivalry with Doncaster Rovers passed him by during his playing days.

Now, in his guise as Millers manager and an instantly recognisable figure in the Doncaster village of Tickhill where he lives, he is afforded regular reminders.

I do watch a lot of Donny games. They always put me in a rubbish car park, in the rubbish seats.

Paul Warne

Warne copped a fair bit of stick from Rovers followers after Rotherham’s dramatic leveller against their near-neighbours at the Keepmoat last November – as he did in early summer after Joe Newell’s decision to leave the club, with the winger strongly linked with a move to Doncaster.

Also whenever he visits the Keepmoat Stadium, his status as manager of the ‘enemy’ is reinforced with his car parking pass usually reserved for the far car park and not the one next to the stadium.

In a break from the norm, Warne was offered a rare bit of ‘charity’ on Tuesday night when he received a pass for the club’s main car park – but there was a good reason.

But there is unlikely to be any benevolence during his Millers side’s trip to Rovers tomorrow.

Warne said: “I do watch a lot of Donny games – down to location if nothing else. They always put me in a rubbish car park, in the rubbish seats. I don’t get it. No manager gets sent to number three (car park) except me and I am the nicest man in football. Car park three is virtually in Scunthorpe!

“I asked the other night if they could get me in car park one and I kindly got in there and it was a nice gesture. But because it was just a (Leasing.com Trophy) cup game, there must have been 200 spaces.”

On the rivalry, the Millers chief, who will be without first-choice keeper Daniel Iversen, a late call-up to the Denmark squad due to injury – with Lewis Price set to deputise – said: “I wasn’t really aware that it was such a big deal. It is only since I took over as manager and we played them and in fairness, it must be a big deal as we take a massive away following.

“I always thought Doncaster’s big games were against Lincoln and Scunthorpe. But I am going to enjoy it as I do not know if I will be in charge for the next one.

“I remember last time at their place when we did not perform at all well and they were significantly better than us. In fairness, they were at our place for massive periods of the game.

“I remember the next day when I walked to the shops and I had my lucky coat on from the day before and I got abuse from the car driving going past.

“I even got abused in my village a few months back and a few lads pulled up beside me and said: ‘Have you lost your winger, boo hoo!”.

“There are a lot of Donny fans in my village to say the least.”

A manager who does not treat himself too seriously and enjoys light-hearted banter, the trappings of derby day – for all of his quips about car parking and seating plans – is something that Warne warmly embraces.

Today’s game is given an added edge by the sight of former Millers winger Jon Taylor in the Rovers ranks, with Warne urging away fans to be respectful to the 27-year-old, who left in the summer after turning down fresh terms.

Warne added: “I want to appeal to our fans and want us to be better people. Don’t go to the game, have a few beers and then abuse one of our old players.

“He was a great servant who gave everything for us on a daily basis and on a performance basis, he was great.

“I offered him a contract, but he chose to leave for two reasons. I could not guarantee him to play every week and I cannot guarantee that to anyone. Also he truly believed through his own confidence and agent possibly that he could still play in the Championship and why not.

“The fact that he has got employment down the road at Doncaster, so what – bless him. He deserves to earn a living.

“All the players who played for this club will always be loved by this club, I would like to think, and I do not like our fans to think: ‘Oh great, we can give Tayls some.’ I think it is disgusting.”

Taylor’s addition on the flanks may have been a welcome one to Rovers fans, but the club’s quest to bring in an experienced striker to help plug the gap left by John Marquis continues to prove an exercise in frustration.

Ex-Everton and West Brom forward Victor Anichebe, 31, a free agent after leaving Chinese football and well known to Moore from his time at Albion, is continuing to train with Rovers.

As it stands, a deal is not currently on the cards, with Moore doing the striker a favour than anything else as he seeks to boost his fitness levels and regain his sharpness with there not being a rush to pursue a potential deal.

Moore, who revealed that Ali Crawford’s decision to join Bolton on Monday was down to a desire to play regular first-team football, with his exit being an amicable one, said: “He is training and I worked with Vic at previous employes and know him really well.

“He is coming in training and blowing a few cobwebs off. It still remains that.”