PAUL Warne's first match as permanent manager of Rotherham United takes him back to his first professional club today.
Warne took his first steps into the pro game when he signed for Wigan Athletic back in 1997 in the days when they still played their football at Springfield Park.
The DW Stadium will provide the backdrop this afternoon but the signficance of the trip back to Lancashire isn't lost on Warne, who took official control of the Millers on a one-year rolling contract on Wednesday.
He told the Advertiser: "It is a bit weird to think that I'm taking a team to play the team that first signed me 20 years ago but it also gives me an immense amount of pride. I'm pretty pleased with the way my life has turned out.
"Wigan gave me my opportunity and I scored on my debut against Blackpool and they were good with me."
Sentiment apart, the need to snap a club record nine straight defeats is upmost in Warne's mind, as is the need to start scoring some goals. Relegated Rotherham have found the net only once in the last six matches and haven't won in 14 since beating Norwich in January. Their last away victory was a year ago at MK Dons.
It's also a must-win fixture for second-bottom Wigan, currently seven points shy of the Championship safety line.
Warne added: "We need to stop the rot of defeats but in recent weeks, apart from against QPR, I don't think we've got what we deserved.
"Unfortunately what is apparent is that we are not taking our chances or scoring goals to give ourselves a chance to collect points. We need to address that and it would be great if we could do it at Wigan.
"In games we have always been competitive and had chances to go 1-0 up but haven't taken them to get any impetus. We need to start the game well and take any chances we do get."
Joe Newell is expected to be fit and Warne is optimistic about a return for Lee Frecklington. Tom Adeyemi remains doubtful and Ben Purrington may not be risked.
Kick-off is 3pm.
We'll have all the build-up and updates throughout the afternoon on our Twitter feed @rothtisersport
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.