'More than half of players and staff' ... how Rotherham United have been ravaged by Covid

Paul WarnePaul Warne
Paul Warne
MORE than 50 per cent of Rotherham United's first-team players and staff contracted coronavirus in the outbreak of the disease that has swept through the club this month.

The Millers aren't revealing an exact number of cases but manager Paul Warne made the revelation as his side gear up for a return to action tomorrow night at home to high-flying Watford after being forced to postpone their last three matches.

The boss, who held an online press conference this afternoon from his home in Tickhill, won't be at the Championship home clash against the Hornets because he is self-isolating and will also miss Saturday's trip to Bristol City.

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"The virus has hit us badly," he said. "More than half us have been affected."

The majority of infections happened ten days ago and Rotherham today reopened their Roundwood complex as many of their infected group completed their quarantine period.

Training this morning was the first day on the grass for the players since their win at Sheffield Wednesday 12 days ago and the session was taken by goalkeeping coach Warrington, centre-half Richard Wood and midfielder Shaun MacDonald.

Assistant manager Richie Barker and coach Matt Hamshaw are in isolation, although Barker should be available to take charge at AESSEAL New York Stadium tomorrow.

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"In training today, a few of the lads we thought would be okay to start have struggled, to say the least," said Warne who has been in contact with his team and staff in a series of online meetings and text messages.

"Anyone who has been through this horrendous disease and come out the other side knows how debilitating it is. To come back after ten days' self-isolation and suddenly be an elite athlete again is a massive, massive step.

"There will be players on the pitch tomorrow who have been through the virus and aren't 100 per cent. We'll pick the best team we can. The lads are playing against a team that have won seven of their last eight games and there is no expectation on them.

"A bit of adversity is good for my crew. They'll give everything. We're down on numbers but we should be able to get a squad together and have players on the bench."

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Warne plans further talks with some of his squad this evening.

"They've got through training today and we just have to reach out to them tonight to make sure they've had no ill effects," he said. "I'm not going to risk anyone's health for a game of football."

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