Rotherham United boss Paul Warne is not usually one to suppress emotion.
But he has called on his players to take all the emotion out of the occasion when they host revitalised Bolton Wanderers today.
The Trotters are in league action for the first time since going perilously close to liquidation and will arrive in South Yorkshire complete with a new manager, a new team, and strong travelling contingent at the New York Stadium. “I do believe in the power of the emotion and how much they want to win,” said Warne. “I’m not saying our lads don’t want to win.
“But for the Bolton people, for the people who had thought they had lost their club, they will turn up here just so happy that they can come and watch a proper team play that it will make it a carnival atmosphere and it will give their players a big boost.
“They might blow up after 65, 70 minutes but worst-case scenario for me is that they’re already leading and just hanging on for dear life.
“We have to start the game well, that is for sure. We have to move the ball quickly and try and knock the enthusiasm out of them really quickly.”
The Millers, hoping to bounce back from a derby defeat at Doncaster, are yet to win at home this season.
“I think there’s an anxiety around the team because they’re playing under a different pressure this year,” said Warne.
“Last time we were in League One it felt like everyone was happy if we didn’t go down again, sustained our position in League One and if we could get near the top of the table that was good.
“This summer we’ve gone down, I know, but we’ve gone down more positive, we’ve signed some players and I think the expectations from people, rightly or wrongly, are that we’d be top three.”
“I never said that, obviously, because I know how tough the league is and I’m respectful of the opposition.
“I do think that fans might turn up this year thinking ‘this will be all right’. but that’s not football is, that’s not how sport is at all.
“The fact we’ve not won at home yet, maybe the lads are a bit nervy.
“I don’t think they are. I don’t think we played very well against Tranmere but our other home performances haven’t been bad.
“I don’t see it as loads of anxiety but if we still haven’t won at home after this weekend it does become an issue. The longer it goes on the bigger the issue is.”