Winger Anthony Forde has revealed the steel behind the smile of manager Paul Warne as high-flying Rotherham United gear up for the League One promotion run-in.
Under Warne - renowned for being a decent, positive character - the Millers have climbed to fourth place and are looking to cement their place in the play-off shake-up in the final 12 matches of the season.
But in-form Forde says the boss has no problem giving the players a dressing down if he thinks they’re slacking.
“If you are not doing things properly, he has a go at times,” Forde said. “He makes sure you are working as hard as you can for him or he will let you know if you are not.”
Rotherham, on a 14-match unbeaten run, are the division’s form team, with seven wins in their last seven outings. However, they can’t add to that tally this weekend as today’s match at Gillingham has been postponed because of snow and sub-zero temperatures in Kent.
Forde has been a key man for the Millers in the three months since they last tasted defeat, adding a new penetrative edge to his attacking play to go with his quality delivery and unstinting effort.
The 24-year-old attributes his best form since his 2016 switch from Walsall to Warne’s support and the fact he has been given an extended run in the side. He has appeared in all 14 games since Rotherham began their amazing sequence with a 2-1 win at Blackpool on December 9.
“The gaffer gives you confidence all the time,” he said. “He backs every one of us.
“I was in and out a bit towards the start of the season. But after that Blackpool game, the team did not change too much and we have kept a similar side. That was a massive win and got our run going.
“There is not one person in the team who does not get on with another person. It is a really good group. You need that to be successful.
Forde has experience of the third-tier play-offs, having reached them with Walsall before his move to AESSEAL New York Stadium. The Saddlers lost both legs of their semi-final to Barnsley who went on to beat Millwall in the final.
“We were in and around the top three for most of the season, but we did not go on a run as good as this,” he said.
“At the moment, it just feels really good playing games. We just feel like we are going to win and run over teams.
“We are adjusting well to games and how teams play, and that is credit to the staff for getting us ready. We don’t just go into it and do it. The coaches have been really good with us.”
Warne has given his players the weekend off, with his squad due back in training on Monday to start preparations for next Saturday’s home clash with Rochdale.