THE euphoria among Rotherham United fans was evident after Saturday’s historic win over Nottingham Forest, but manager Paul Warne concedes that his side face a step up in class tonight.
The Millers, after a first victory over Forest since 1956, are seeking to double up against another former European Cup winner and promotion-aspiring side in Villa – who they have not beaten on home soil since 1961.
Along with Norwich, the Midlands club are the form side in the Championship having won their past six matches.
The Millers’ last match against a team managed by Dean Smith certainly proved a fraught one, with his Brentford side dismantling them in a 5-1 opening-day evisceration.
But Warne’s glass remains steadfastly half-full despite him being fully aware of what his side will come up against this evening.
Warne said: “The players are well aware of the fact that this (Aston Villa) is another level up. That has probably kept the fireworks down.
I do not go to bed with fear. A bit of nervous trepidation, yes, but it could be the best night we have had here for ages.Rotherham boss, Paul Warne
“We have done all right against them before, but I have normally not done great against Dean Smith’s teams, which is worrying.
“They (Villa) have unbelievable qualities. But if the ball bounces our way from a set-piece or there is a great throughball and we put it away, and we defend resolutely, why cannot we win?
“I do not go to bed with fear. A bit of nervous trepidation, yes, but it could be the best night we have had here for ages.”
At the cornerstone of Villa’s resurgence has been talismanic captain Jack Grealish – rated last week as the “best player in the Championship” by Sheffield Wednesday manager and ex-Villa boss Steve Bruce.
Warne is wise to the dangers of the gifted playmaker, but insists that his players are not planning any special treatment.
The Millers’ chief added: “If you overcompensate, he (Grealish) is that clever a footballer that, if you double up on him, he passes it square to someone else and he will rip you a new one.”
Warne remains confident that French trialist winger Julien Lamy will sign for the club, but is not expecting the move to go through until the summer.
Last six games: Rotherham WLWLLW Aston Villa WWWWWW.
Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).
Last time: Rotherham 0 Aston Villa 2; March 4, 2017; Championship.