Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via Rotherham’s official website), Paul Warne revealed that, despite a number of his first-team squad picking up knocks in the 2-1 victory over Oxford United on Saturday afternoon, he has no fresh injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Sunderland – suggesting he will be able to pick from the same group of players available at the weekend.
Regarding the current state of his squad, the 48-year-old said: “We’ve got no major concerns, you always have a few aches and pains the day after a game, but I don’t think any of that is going to change who is available on Tuesday night. I think we’ll have the same players available to us.”
Considering the importance of picking up all three points against the second-placed Millers on Tuesday evening, the fact that Warne has no fresh injury concerns is undoubtedly news that will have left Alex Neil gutted.
Indeed, Rotherham have been in fantastic form throughout their 2021/22 League One campaign, so far confounding pre-season predictions of a sixth-place finish by occupying one of the automatic promotion spots – with a victory over the Black Cats on Tuesday, coupled with a Wigan Athletic draw or loss at Portsmouth, being enough to see the Millers claim top spot in the division.
This favourable league position has largely been thanks to the efforts of centre-forward Michael Smith – 19 goals and six assists over 43 appearances – goalkeeper Josh Vickers – 12 clean sheets and 3.1 saves per game over 20 outings – central midfielder Daniel Barlaser – nine goals and six assists over 42 fixtures – and centre-back Michael Ihiekwe – 19 clean sheets over 40 matches.
Having said that, with Warne’s side having lost three of their last five league outings, Neil will be confident that, as long as Sunderland play to the best of their ability at the Stadium of Light, his side have a chance of taking all three points from the meeting.
However, the news that Rotherham have no fresh injury worries, coupled with the fact that the Mackems now look set to be without both Dennis Cirkin and Carl Winchester due to knocks picked up against Cambridge United, will certainly come as a blow to Neil and his side – who simply must secure a victory in order to give themselves the best possible chance of sealing a top-six spot of their own come the end of the season.