Freddie Ladapo, Georgie Kelly and Sunderland ... the thoughts of manager Paul Warne as Rotherham United enter a week they hope will end in promotion

Freddie LadapoFreddie Ladapo
Freddie Ladapo
MANAGER Paul Warne isn't ruling out a return to the squad for dropped striker Freddie Ladapo as Rotherham United gear up for tomorrow's League One promotion showdown at Sunderland.

A huge crowd is expected at the Stadium of Light where a win for the second-placed Millers would all but mathematically seal their return to the Championship with a match to spare.

Fifteen-goal Ladapo was omitted from the matchday 18 for last Saturday's 2-1 home triumph over Oxford United after a string of poor displays.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There's always someone who is left out of the squad," Warne said this morning. "I just thought it made sense to do what I did.

"If I want to include him tomorrow night I will. He doesn't have special treatment any more than anyone else. I'll make a decision before the end of training today about who's in the squad and we'll go from there."

Sunderland, with seven victories and three draws in their last ten games under new boss Alex Neil and not completely out of the top-two reckoning, need a victory to tighten their grip on a play-off spot.

Warne expects his side to rise to the occasion, saying: "As a player, I'd be thinking: 'Brilliant'. There will be around 30,000 people watching. We've got to go there and enjoy it for what it is.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We go there in reasonable form, not unbelievable form. It's an honour to manage a club at that stadium. I'm not an anxious as I normally am. It's not a must-win game but we want to win.

"We've done well against the better teams this season. It will be a tough match but I would like to think Sunderland will say the same about us."

January signing Georgie Kelly was included ahead of Ladapo in the Millers squad for the U's fixture but the centre-forward, who left part-time football in Ireland to come to Rotherham, has yet to make his debut.

"It's not a charity we run here," said Warne. "It's not like we think: 'We'll put Georgie on for the last five minutes because it will be really romantic for him to play.'

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"These are games we are trying to win. Every single second of every game matters. If we put him on, it will be a tactical decision not a romantic one. Hopefully he can get on the pitch. It would be great for him."

The Millers are on the same number of points, 86, as MK Dons, who are third, but have a superior goal difference and a game in hand. Warne's men are at relegation candidates Gillingham on Saturday's final day while MK travel to top-six Plymouth Argyle.

Attacker Chiedozie Ogbene, who won the penalty from which Dan Barlaser struck the winner against Oxford, said: "We're in a good place. We'll have a game-plan for Sunderland and hopefully we can get a win there so we won't feel too pressured at Gillingham.

"Sunderland know what they're playing for, we know what we're playing for. It's not going to be an easy game. We just need to go there and show desire, which I know we will do."