ROTHERHAM UNITED manager Paul Warne has labelled Championship leaders Leeds United as a mini-version of Manchester City ahead of tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby.
Twenty places and 29 points separate the Millers and Leeds, with Warne under no illusions about the extent of the task.
The Millers will be without several players tomorrow including Joe Newell, Jamie Proctor and Ryan Williams, while a bout of illness has affected some players this week, including Richie Towell.
Semi Ajayi (knee) and Clark Robertson (ankle) have also been inflicted with injury issues this week although Warne is hopeful that the pair will feature.
On tomorrow’s opponents, Warne, who says that Newell may have to undergo groin surgery if his condition does not improve, observed: “I think they are excellent. They are like a little Manchester City with the way they play with the five up front in the five channels of the pitch.
“They back each other one-on-one all over the pitch, which not many teams in the Championship do and they make it hard for you.
“They are very athletic and there are not many times that we play against a team who I think are more athletic than us and they can all handle the ball.
“They are the stand-out team in the league, comfortably.”
Warne has revealed that his hopes of signing loan midfielder Towell on a permanent basis this month have reached a “stalemate”.
He had been hopeful that a deal could be brokered late last week with Towell’s parent club Brighton, but stressed he would quickly move on and revisit the situation in the summer if no agreement could be reached.
On the situation with Towell, on a season-long loan at the club, he said: “It is a bit of a stalemate, really. I cannot see it happening in this window.
“Richie is out of contract in the summer and it is something I will revisit this summer.
“It is one of the things I wanted to have happened (now), but it cannot be agreed. It is one of those things; we move on.”
Warne remains keen on bringing in two attack-minded players ahead of next Thursday’s transfer window deadline with the Millers currently having one fit and recognised senior central striker in Michael Smith and limited options on the wings.
Warne has dismissed speculation linking Smith with Hull City and says that the club have not received “a formal enquiry or offer”.