Rookie boss Paul Warne today admitted he doesn’t relish the prospect of a Good Friday battle of wits with Rotherham United’s most successful manager of recent years.
In his first full season in charge, Warne has led the Millers into the top four in League One and, with only eight games remaining, his side are on the brink of securing their place in the play-offs.
But next up at AESSEAL New York Stadium are fellow top-six contenders Peterborough United, now managed by Steve Evans who masterminded back-to-back Rotherham promotions in 2013 and 2014.
“Am I looking forward to going head to head with Steve? Not really,” Warne said. “He’s won more games here than I have and he’s hugely experienced and I’m not.
“He’s bringing a really good side here. Hopefully, my 11 can out-perform his 11. All I want to do is win the game and move on. I hope the lads perform to the level we think they can. If they do, that should be enough to get a positive result.”
The clash, which sees fourth place take on sixth, gives Rotherham the chance to regain momentum after three defeats in their last four outings, following a run of 14 matches without a loss.
Warne, who has to decide whether to bring goalkeeper Marek Rodak straight back after international duty or stick with stand-in Lewis Price, was fitness coach when Evans led the Millers from League Two to the Championship and then kept them up in their first year in the second tier.
“It was a rollercoaster at times, but you could never say it wasn’t entertaining,” former player Warne said.
“I think I’ve picked up something from every manager I’ve worked for. Steve is a winner. He openly admits that all he wants to do is win. He’s an horrendous loser. That’s the other side of being a great winner, I suppose.
“He will do anything to win a game. Steve’s focus was always on the match day. The lads always knew exactly what he wanted from them. There were never any grey areas. Predominantly, he wanted them working hard.”
New York is set for a bumper bank-holiday crowd and Warne is predicting an entertaining afternoon.
“I think I know roughly how they’ll play,” he said. “And Steve knows what sort of character I am and how I want too play football, because we had many chats about it when he was here.
“Peterborough are on a really good run. I think the atmosphere will be good and, more often than not, when the atmosphere at New York is brilliant it results in a really good game.
“It will be both teams trying to go for the win. Both teams attack, both teams can handle the ball, both teams score goals for fun.”