Paul Warne today accepted that his job could be on the line if Rotherham United fail to halt their League One slump.
The Millers turned to the 44-year-old club legend to carry out a complete overhaul of their playing operation following last season’s disastrous Championship relegation campaign.
But, after seven league matches without a victory, he knows that the only surefire way to maintain the backing of chairman Tony Stewart is to stop the slide sooner rather than later.
“If the chairman had 100 per cent trust in me, it might have reduced because we’re not winning football matches,” the boss said. “I understand above anybody else, because I’ve been here the longest, that if you don’t win football matches your support dwindles.”
Rotherham, who travel to Blackpool on Saturday, made a bright start to their League One season under Warne and climbed to fourth in the table before their recent poor run.
“I think the chairman is aware of what we’re trying to do and he’s been great with me,” he said. “I’m also aware how football is. It’s only a long-term project if there are positive signs.
“I know how the world is. There are people who just want to see the darkness of the burnt jungle and there are people who want to see the shoots coming through. I get that. I understand that my reputation at the club currently might be blighted by the form we’re in.”
The 13th-placed Millers head to Blackpool, who are one spot above them, without suspended top scorer Kieffer Moore and injured winger Jon Taylor, while midfielder Darren Potter is a major doubt after limping out of last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Bristol Rovers.
“He came off when he felt his achilles pop,” Warne said. “He thought he’d snapped it at the time. He’s had a scan, and that isn’t the case. There is still an issue, but it’s nowhere near as serious as we initially thought. I don’t think he will be in the reckoning this weekend.”
Taylor has been working out with the physios on the grass and could resume full training next week. Left-back Ben Purrington has recovered from his hamstring problem and is back in training.
Saturday could bring a first league start of the campaign for striker Jonson Clarke-Harris and Warne has hinted that he may alter his formation against the Seasiders in the absence of 13-goal frontman Moore.
“We’ll probably change the way we play a little because of it,” he said. “‘Jonno’ has trained really well this week because he can sniff a really good chance to get in the team.”
Marek Rodak will be in the net, with Warne confirming that the Fulham loanee is his first-choice goalkeeper after a battle with Richard O’Donnell.
“We need some stability,” the manager said. “As we sit here at the moment, Marek has got the shirt and I don’t see any reason to take it off him.”
Warne believes his side are capable of a top-10 finish and can recapture the early-season form which brought seven wins in nine league games.
“It’s not that hard to stay positive because I still enjoy coming into work every day,” he said.
“Because of the run we’re on, the next game, in my head, feels more pressured than the previous game. That’s obvious.
“I know the players have got it in them. It’s not as if I feel thay all have to play 10 out of 10 for us to get something. As soon as it clicks again, we should go off on another good run.”