ADOPTING a ‘siege mentality’ is nothing new to Rotherham United loanee Zac Vyner.
The Bristol City defender has previously stepped out of his comfort zone to earn his stripes at opposite ends of the country in Accrington Stanley and Plymouth Argyle – and now finds himself at another divisional ‘outsider’ in Rotherham.
Vyner’s first loan spell saw him don the red of Accrington in 2016-17, a club who have regularly drawn strength out of adversity and defied expectations – despite having one of the smallest budgets in the Football League, if not the smallest.
His next port of call was the footballing outpost of Home Park in deepest Devon last season where Vyner was part of a Plymouth side who clocked up the points as well as the travel miles to make a concerted push for the League One play-offs.
The Londoner’s next mission has seen him join another club metaphorically out on a limb in Rotherham who, like Accrington, have a history of successfully trading punches with rival sides possessing vastly superior budgets.
Do not let it be said that the 21-year-old does not like challenges.
The right-back told The Yorkshire Post: “Being down at Plymouth was a bit like being at the end of the earth! No disrespect to them because I had a great time there and, hopefully, I will have the same success here.
“There is no point going to a club on loan and being half-hearted. You must buy into it and that is something the gaffer said.
“I had not met him (Paul Warne) before I signed and he definitely said that the loan players they had last year such as Richie (Towell) and Josh (Emmanuel) bought into it here and gave everything they got and were promoted. We have got to do the same and it is about jumping straight in.”
Spirit and togetherness has certainly not been in short supply already this season on the fertile soil of AESSEAL New York Stadium where the Millers have already registered three Championship home wins.
There is no point going to a club on loan and being half-hearted. You must buy into it and that is something the gaffer said.Rotherham United’s Zak Vyner
They have already upset one second-tier ‘big hitter’ in the process in the shape of Derby County, who were comprehensively rattled in a 1-0 loss in South Yorkshire in the Millers’ last home appointment.
It was an afternoon when the visitors lost their heads along with the points and the hosts are planning to make life similarly uncomfortable for another Midlands outfit with designs upon promotion this season in Stoke City on Saturday.
Vyner, on a season-long loan with the Millers, added: “I do not think we did anything out of order, but played our own game and got in amongst them. We were aggressive and direct and it worked.
“When we defend and are tactical and block and take our chances to press, teams do get frustrated by that. You look at the Derby red card and some players are used to getting the ball and having time to beat the man.
“We get in opposing teams’ faces and stop them in their tracks.”
Vyner’s own progress is being observed back at his parent club, with Robins’ manager Lee Johnson handing him a big vote of faith in the summer by way of a new three-year contract.
The defender is intent on paying back that loyalty.
Vyner continued: “He (Johnson) has always ‘bigged’ me up and given me a lot of faith and confidence.
“He sent me out here to get Championship experience and go back ready. Hopefully, I can do that.”