Wigan Athletic v Rotherham United: Paul Warne hoping to keep hold of Ben Wiles and Michael Smith

PAUL WARNE acknowledges that a good start to 2021-22 may prove to be a double-edged sword for Rotherham United.

The Millers, who kicked off with a sound opening-day win over Plymouth, head to a rejuvenated Wigan side this afternoon in the early salvos of their quest to secure a hat-trick of instant returns to the Championship.

To most shrewd observers, that will rely on keeping hold of their main players such as Michael Smith and Ben Wiles, with Warne keeping his fingers crossed that they, and others, remain at the club by the time the transfer window closes at the end of August.

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Should the Millers do that, Warne will breathe a sigh of relief and turn his attentions to the autumn with a renewed sense of optimism.

Ben Wiles: The type of player Rotherham United are hoping to keep holder. (Picture: Gary Longbottom)

He said: “A lot of our lads did themselves proud with their individual performances in the Championship.

“I can foresee the market moving in the next couple of weeks. There are already murmurings on certain players.

“You only need players to have good back-to-back games – people like Jamie Lindsay, Wilesy, Chieo (Ogbene) or Mickel (Miller), who has come back in great fettle – and all of a sudden someone comes in with their chequebook.

“If I can get to the end of the window and add one and not lose anyone, I think I have a pretty decent squad with which to take on the league.”

Michael Smith is a player Rotherham United hope to keep hold of (Picture: Gary Longbottom)

On the incoming front, United have so far made six signings with hopefully more to come, but Warne is preaching the maxim of patience from supporters as the new arrivals bed in.

He added: “You think your team’s good, but you need that strength in depth.

“We have shook the pack up a little bit (with new signings) and now the pack looks a little bit better. (But) it takes time.

“When Will Vaulks came down from Scotland, I didn’t think he was the greatest for a few months. You need some time to work with new players.

“In the meantime, you hope your core 11 stay fit and are able to play and then you can dip in and out with the new lads and help them grow.”