CARETAKER manager Paul Warne believes that Rotherham United will perform a legendary feat if they file yet another famous derby chapter at Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon.
The rock-bottom Millers, without a win in 13 Championship away matches since April 9, are desperate for the sight of their happy hunting ground in Hillsborough to prove a lucky omen – they will aim to register their fifth win in their past six league outings at S6.
Despite not beating Rotherham at home in their last six meetings in all competitions since September 1981, Wednesday are still ranked as strong favourites ahead of this afternoon’s encounter as they seek to secure their second successive derby victory on home soil in five days following Tuesday’s 2-0 success over Barnsley.
The pre-match scenario was similar ahead of the pair’s meeting on March 5, when Matt Darbyshire’s strike gave the Millers a sweet 1-0 triumph to help propel their great escape mission in earnest .
The visitors’ aim will be the same today almost nine-and-a- half months on.
On what a repeat would mean for the club, Warne, taking charge of the Millers on an interim basis for the fourth consecutive match, said: “It would be ledge (legendary).
“It will be nice to turn my phone on after the game. When I turned my phone on after the QPR game (a Millers win) I had about 86 texts, which was lovely, but a bit of a hindrance because you have to text everyone back saying thanks and they text you back again and it’s like ‘Whoa, I don’t want to have a conversation. I have got 86 of these’.
“When I turned it on after Fulham (where the Millers lost) I got six, so it would be nice to turn it on after Sheffield Wednesday and have loads of texts.
“It would be good. I am not making a big deal of it to the players, but it would be nice to walk into Tescos for my muffins next week and someone say, ‘Well done for beating Wednesday’.
“I am well aware that it would add something to my popularity. It would be nice.
“I know what it means for the people in this town.
“I was at a wedding (on Thursday) and had some fans tell me it is a massive game;
“I know it is a massive game. I am well aware of that and it is coming up to Christmas and the cost of tickets and all that. It will be good for the fans to get a win and the performance.
“But in fairness to the lads, in the last three games they have been more than up for the fight and I am reluctant to do anything differently.”
Warne sampled the winning derby feeling as a Rotherham player at Hillsborough on two occasions in the space of six months in 2002 when Richie Barker and Darren Garner wrote their names in Millers folklore with dramatic 90th-minute winners in identical 2-1 triumphs.
Warne admits that both remain cherished memories and he would dearly love to be afforded another.
He added: “It does feel a long time ago. I can only just remember last week.
“I can remember when Daz Garner scored and I was in shock, not that we had won, but that Daz Garner had scored from so far out and then managed to run to the other end without having a heart attack.
“They were good times and they are good memories for me.”
While perhaps not aware of the Millers’ Indian sign over Wednesday at Hillsborough over the years, Owls’ head coach Carlos Carvalhal is minded to recollect the events of early March when a struggling Millers side inflicted a first home league defeat upon the hosts in six months.
And the Portuguese is the first to admit that the events of that game present a salutory warning to his side.
Carvalhal, who has preached the importance of patience in order potentially to break down the Millers, said: “This score has made us more alert for the game.
“There are no easy games in the Championship. The top-placed team can beat the bottom side. We understand this and respect all the teams.
“We respect Rotherham. They are better than they were in the past. It is why they won the three points in the last home game (against QPR).
“Rotherham have some weak points, like all teams, and we will try to exploit them.
“We know how important it is to the fans and we want to give a strong answer.
“We are 100 per cent focused. We will play with the same attitude and soul (as Tuesday).”