Paul Warne plans for a first Rotherham United league match in 11 months without Will Vaulks

By Paul Davis | 09/11/2018

Paul Warne plans for a first Rotherham United league match in 11 months without Will Vaulks
Missing man Will Vaulks

PAUL Warne has shrugged off the loss of key man Will Vaulks as Rotherham United travel to the team with one of the most feared home records in the country.

Vaulks has been an ever-present for the Millers in the Championship this season but is banned for this weekend's clash at Blackburn Rovers after racking up five yellow cards.

“I'm not too concerned, to be honest,” said boss Warne whose 18th-placed side head across the M62 to do battle with play-off-chasing Rovers in their last fixture before the international break.

“The way we play means we're liable to pick up bookings and I understand that. Players will get suspensions. Obviously, I'd rather pick from a full group.

“It's just next man up really. The next person comes in and if they do well Will will have to fight to get his place back. No-one is bigger than the team.

“Woody (Richard Wood) has found himself out of the team recently and he's my captain. If anyone has a dip in form or isn't available and someone else does well, that's just the way it is.”

Blackburn, who have former Millers midfielder Richie Smallwood in their ranks, have lost at home only once in their last 28 league outings. They and Rotherham were both promoted from League One last term.

Stand-in skipper Vaulks, who has started every league match since early December 2017, would have been a certain starter at Ewood Park, but his absence could be a blessing in disguise as he is nursing a minor hip problem.

“We will miss Will, obviously, but you don't know that the player who takes his shirt isn't going to play better than Will,” Warne said. “I'm not worried. If we had three or four of my main ones out, that would be different.

“Will played the last game (a 2-1 home win over Swansea City) a little bit sore in his hip. The ban has allowed him to have a week off the grass this week.

“Then he can train next week and be flying by the end of the international break. This is the best time for Will to be suspended, hence why I'm not too down about it. His body needed the rest anyway.”

Warne is well aware of the size of the task facing his men.

“They must have one of the best home records in the league,” the manager said. “I think they've lost only one in 30-odd games. They battered us first half at their place last season (2-0 Rovers win), although we came back into it and could have nicked something in the end.

“They're a really good team, they're really organised and their two up top (Danny Graham and Adam Armstrong) are probably the most in-form strikers in the division at the moment.

“Obviously we're aware of Richie Smallwood and Bradley Dack. Every away game in this league is difficult.

“Blackburn aren't dissimilar to us in that they really believe in themselves when they're playing at home especially. Of all the promoted teams, they're doing the best at the moment.”

Will Vaulks talks about his ban in 14 pages of Millers coverage in this week's Advertiser

Two-page Paul Warne feature - the players who let him down when he became boss

Warne column, Vaulks column, Richie Smallwood on why he left the Millers, previews, analysis, great pictures and much more

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