If a Rotherham United jersey is spotted in the picturesque village of Tickhill this weekend, there’s a good chance that Paul Warne has broken his derby duck.
The Millers manager lost clashes against Sheffield Wednesday, twice, Barnsley and Leeds United when he was in caretaker charge for some of last term’s Championship relegation campaign, while his side were beaten by near-neighbours Chesterfield this season in a Checkatrade Trophy tie.
Tomorrow’s League One clash against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium, where his team will be backed by a near-4,000 following, gives Warne the chance to open his account.
The boss, seeking a lift in fortunes for his seventh-placed team after three league games without a win, will be sporting Millers colours close to home on the outskirts of Rotherham if things go his way.
“If we could win away at Donny, I would be well chuffed as we need to get the points rolling back on,” he said. “I want to build on what we have done so far and not go the other way.
“If we could win at Donny ... happy days. I could walk around the village with pride on Sunday with my Rothers shirt on!
Tickhill is closer to Doncaster than it is Rotherham, and Warne added: “A lot of my friends are Donny fans. My son and daughter go to a Donny school. They’ve already threatened me with my life if the team don’t perform.”
He has watched 17th-placed Rovers, who have picked up after a slow start, three times in preparation for the South Yorkshire showdown which kicks off at 12.30pm and is being shown live on television.
“Just recently, they have been really settled and playing really well,” he said. “I have seen them play three times and they play really good football through the middle third and create a lot of chances.”
Warne worked as a fitness coach for the Millers under two managers boasting enviable derby records, Steve Evans and then former Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock who inspired a 1-0 victory at Wednesday during the 2016 second-tier survival miracle.
But he doesn’t believe there were any secrets behind the duo’s success when local bragging rights were at stake.
“Steve’s team won most of the time and Neil’s did initially,” he said. “If you are a manager and win 80 per cent of your games, some of them are going to be local derbies. I don’t think they were doing anything special or different.
“Neil was hilarious when we played at Wednesday. He could not wait for the game and it was like Christmas morning for him. Whether that relaxed the lads or not, I don’t know.
“I won’t try and build up to the lads that the Doncaster game is any more than what it is. They have just got to try and focus on the game.
“When they turn up on the day and it is a good following and the TV cameras are there and it’s obviously a different time for the kick-off, it will definitely have a different feel to any other game.”