ROTHERHAM United manager Paul Warne expects that he will need to call upon most, if not all, of his fringe players in the crucial final stages of the season.
Due to good results, Warne has had to make only comparatively minimal changes to his team since December and several senior squad members have had to wait their chance to break in. They include Matt Palmer and Caolan Lavery, two of the club’s January recruits.
Warne said he had full confidence in the ability of all of his bench men and others to step up to the plate if required and that they needed to be ready.
He told the Advertiser: “It does make it easier to pick a team when we're winning but you have to keep those on the periphery motivated because as sure as eggs is eggs, with 13 games left and potential play-off games, everyone is going to be needed at some time.”
On Palmer and Lavery, he added: “I told them they would have to come in and fight for a place and they are doing that. They’ve got used to our training and they’ve an idea now how we play and if I had to start both of them this weekend I would have no issue with that at all.”
Warne will have Joe Mattock back available for tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby against Doncaster Rovers, the left-back having recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s win at Shrewsbury.
Fourth-placed Rotherham will be looking to chalk up a seventh straight win in League One at the expense of a Doncaster side perched in mid-table but fresh from a convincing 3-0 win over Fleetwood last week.
Added Warne: “We don’t underestimate anyone and we definitely won't underestimate our local rivals. They haven't lost many games this year and had a good win over Fleetwood last week.
“It will be a sell-out crowd and it’s a big opportunity for us to keep our momentum going.”
Catch today’s 24-page Advertiser sports pullout for the big match build-up and exclusive columns from Paul Warne and Will Vaulks. And don’t forget to follow developments at the AESSEAL New York Stadium tomorrow through our Live Matchday Blog.