PAUL Warne has drilled into his players the importance of Rotherham United's rivalry with Sheffield Wednesday ahead of tomorrow's derby clash at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The interim manager is a veteran of many past battles, including the back-to-back wins at Hillsborough in 2002, but this time the Millers will be playing for nothing but pride due to their relegation from the Championship.
Beating the old rivals offers a chance to claw back a bit of credibility after a dreadful season but Warne says any goodwill earned from the supporters could last a lot longer.
"It would mean a lot to beat Sheffield Wednesday. I have great memories of matches against them and I know what it means to people," he said.
"I have told the lads that it might not mean a lot to them at this second because a lot of them are young and don't know what life's about yet but when you get to 35 or 40 and if you're lucky to score in a local derby like this then you will always be held up in high regard by the fans.
"There has been great games with Wednesday over the years and with the season we've had it would be nice if the sun shines on us tomorrow night. If we win then it would give the fans something to smile about, if nothing else."
Warne at Hillsborough in the reverse fixture
Rotherham need to snap a run of eight straight defeats which has sentenced them to the drop with seven games to spare. And Warne admits he is not sure whether the result will have a bearing on his future as manager, clarification on which is expected in a club statement on Wednesday.
"I don't know, you're asking the wrong person. That's the chairman's question," he added.
"I'm proud to manage this team and I will always look on these days with a smile and a frown — it's been very tough. But if the chairman wants me to do it a little bit longer then ace. If not then I'll support whoever comes in.
"If this was to the best game of my tenure, by beating Sheffield Wednesday at home, then I would be really proud of that."
Danny Ward and skipper Lee Frecklington are injury doubts but Ben Purrington (hamstring) is OK. Joe Mattock returns from suspension.
Wednesday dropped out of the play-off frame on Saturday after a wobbly run. They've won just one of their last seven.
Kick-off is 7.45pm and we'll have all the big match build-up and updates on our Twitter feed.
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