Wycombe Wanderers v Rotherham United - Low key opener no problem for motivated Millers

ROTHERHAM UNITED’S Championship reunion will be played out amid unglamorous surroundings this lunch-time.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne on the touchline at Salford last week. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Instead of changing in a plush visiting dressing room at one of a number of former Premier League clubs who now reside in the second-tier, the Millers will be accommodated in a lounge at Adams Park.

Covid-19 regulations have prompted the change, one of many at countless grounds across the country amid a much-changed match-day environment.

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But if any group of players can take such things in their stride at this level, it is probably Rotherham’s.

Wycombe Wanderers' Matt Bloomfield (left) and manager Gareth Ainsworth celebrate promotion via the League One play-off final. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

On their first experience of league football behind closed doors, manager Paul Warne observed: “It will have a different feel and the home advantage will go, definitely.

“We have had our instructions and we are getting changed in some lounge or something and it is hard not to let that fizzle into the lads’ psyche that this game is not worth as much as the last game of the season when the ground could be packed and you could be playing for something exciting.

“It will affect things. I hope the way our lads are – they are hugely, internally-motivated human beings – they should be able to handle it quite well.”

Protocols on game days have changed irrevocably in the last six months, but the main thing that Warne is keen to alter on the pitch on the club’s Championship return is his side’s lamentable away form at this level.

The Millers have won just once in 46 league matches on their travels in their past two seasons, in the second-tier, both of which have ended in relegation.

Warne is conscious of the need for that grim sequence to be addressed and is planning to tailor his tactical approach when circumstances dictate

He added: “Obviously, we will go every game at a time. I probably won’t go four up front at Brentford. I learned my lesson there, big time (Rotherham lost 5-1 on first day of 2018-19).

“I do not know if we need to go more attacking. But I think we will have more belief in us this year.

“Our away form last year in League One was very good and we tweaked a lot of things behind the scenes and showed the lads a lot of footage and made the away dressing room feel like a home one.”

Today’s game pits two teams who are among the favourites for relegation this term and while naturally hoping that his own side will upset the odds, Warne also predicts that Wycombe will stave off the drop in their historic first season at this level.

He added: “I think they will cause many teams an upset.

“People might think I am naive, but I do not think they will go down. They will cause teams all sorts of problems and I hope that is the case.

“Everyone says: ‘Who is going to go down at the start of the season?’ and which names and then some people can use that as energy to think: ‘You know what, there is no way we are going down. Everyone is saying we are down, we are not having it.’

“I think they will use that to fuel their fight that every tackle and chase is worth it.”

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Thank you, James Mitchinson. Editor.