Hartlepool United v Rotherham United: Paul Warne seeks Wembley keynote Yorkshire News

Although he hadn’t shown himself in the results until Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Milton Keynes Dons in top form, performances have been a bit jaded of late and now injuries are starting to take hold up front.

Will Grigg is out for the season, Freddie Ladapo for over a month, and Josh Kayode and Georgie Kelly, who was expected to make his Millers debut, are doubts for tonight’s Football League Trophy semi-final in Hartlepool United.

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Most crushingly, Covid-19 has ruled former striker Ronnie Moore, who managed both clubs, out of commentator duty. Oddly enough, the leader of the League One team could use a boost. With Rarmani Edmonds-Green and Mickel Miller back in shape, coach Paul Warne will try to give it to him by shuffling his package, but it’s a delicate balancing act.

Miller’s boss, Paul Warne. Image: Steve Ellis

If he does well, an April trip to Wembley to face Sutton United, who beat Wigan Athletic after a penalty shootout last night, is sure to give him a boost, even more Warne says for family members.

“Going to Wembley is something else,” says Warne, who won play-off finals as a player and manager with Rotherham, and the FA Vase with Diss Town. “In a weird way, I think it’s like the message from the players and staff to his family to say that all the sacrifices were worth it. If you took your son to training three nights a week for 10 years, watching his son play at Wembley or his brother or his father is priceless.

“I will tell my players this again today, that is the gift they are playing for. There is no greater gift you can give your family than that enjoyment.”

On injuries, Warne said: “(Ladapo) has a pretty severe tear in his upper quad so he will be missed for a long period. It will be more than a month.

“Jamie Lindsay had a shot in her shoulder, but I hope she’s okay. JJ (Kayode) has a swollen knee, George (Kelly) has a little calf problem.”

Edmonds-Green’s return from January’s hamstring injury should put smiles on faces.

“It’s a bit like Trigger off Just fools and horses – one of them naturally funny people without even knowing it – but he’s a really good player and the guys know it, so it’s a huge boost,” says Warne. “Mickel brings us something really powerful down the left.

“When players are injured, they are always better than you remember. You say, ‘When he comes back, we laugh,’ and then you think, ‘Oh, but when he Come back, we’re fine!’

“But REG has had a brilliant season for us and only lost three games (he was a substitute in one). We haven’t rushed him back because there was no point in taking chances when we were winning every week. Having him back now with 10 league games remaining and maybe three play-off games is good news. In the last few weeks, I don’t think we’ve had a great performance, but we’ve been winning.

“When you’re winning, you’re like, ‘I could really use Ollie (Rathbone) and rest my legs or Wilesey (Ben Wiles) a little bit, but they’ve been so important, there’s always a fine line between freshness and reliability. There is a constant mixing of the bowl.

“I think we need some fresh blood. The pitches have been very wet recently, the practice pitches too, and everyone looks a bit more fatigued. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but the level of play, apart from if you saw Huddersfield-Nottingham Forest, in some leagues it looks a bit low.

Referee: R Madley (Huddersfield)

Last time: Hartlepool United 1 Rotherham 2, Nov 12, 2013, Football League Trophy

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This notice was published: 2022-03-09 06:00:48

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