Rotherham United: Millers boss Warne's Wembley gesture to Proctor
Jamie Proctor, the striker who had to write off his season because of injury, will lead out Rotherham United at Wembley.
Manager Paul Warne will turn to the centre-forward for the Millers’ big day a week on Sunday when they contest the League One Play-off Final against Shrewsbury Town with promotion to the Championship at stake.
Proctor has been out since August after undergoing cruciate knee ligament surgery and Warne wants the summer signing, who is nearing full fitness, to feel part of the occasion at the national stadium.
“I can let Procs walk the team out now at Wembley,” said the boss after the Millers had beaten Scunthorpe United at a packed AESSEAL New York Stadium last night to win their two-legged play-off semi-final 4-2 on aggregate.
“It will give him a boost. He deserves it. He has worked so hard on his recovery. He still comes to games and texts me before every match to wish us well.
“We’ll go there and try to make the town proud.”
There were ecstatic scenes at New York as fans invaded the pitch at the final whistle and players gathered with chairman Tony Stewart on the balcony of the West Stand to acknowledge their backing, but the manager was notable for his absence.
“We couldn’t get the lift and when the lift came people were taking selfies with me, which I was not averse to,” Warne grinned. “Then all the players were coming down so I was not going to go up on my own.
“I am not overly-celebratory anyway. I am happy for the lads to go up there. Without them, we are nothing. The fans sang my name a couple of times. My son will be buzzing the ‘Warneiola’ one is catching on. I have had enough praise, I think.”
Warne and his backroom team were enjoying a day at the races today while the players don’t have to report back for duty until Saturday.
“We are going to York Races, the staff, and it would have been horrendous if we had lost,” he said. “The lads can have a couple of days off. They will be in Saturday, then have some more time off and then we will go for it.
“It’s nice to have a little break, It can refocus them. We have got a few tired bodies. It gives us time to have a good look at how we are going to play at Wembley.”
Goals from Richard Wood and Will Vaulks sealed a deserved victory against the Iron and Warne will now prepare to do battle with former Rotherham teammate Paul Hurst who is boss of the Shrews.
“I am really proud,” said the man who has guided his side to the final in his first full year in charge after last term’s relegation from the Championship.
“We tried at the start of the season to get a group together who were proud to wear the shirt and badge and would try to give people a reason to come and watch this team.
“They have definitely done that and to finish the season with a Wembley trip makes it all the sweeter.”
Among the spectators at New York was Kieffer Moore, the hitman who scored 13 goals for the Millers earlier in the season when he was on loan from Ipswich Town and earned a big-money move to Barnsley.
“Kieffer came. He was chuffed because he didn’t have to pay for his ticket,” Warne said. “Everyone has played a part. Someone told me we have had 11 players who have scored four or more goals. Everyone has chipped in.”