Rotherham boss Warne feared deduction if third game off

Blackburn v Rotherham.
Rotherham are 21st – out of the bottom three on goal difference – after losing at Blackburn in their final Championship game before their enforced break

Rotherham boss Paul Warne claims fears of a points deduction have stopped his “obliterated” Millers calling off Tuesday’s derby with Barnsley.

United, 21st in the Championship, have not played since 16 December as Covid-19 cases caused games against Derby and Middlesbrough to be postponed.

After an isolation period, Warne said another player has now shown symptoms.

“I was advised that if we didn’t play there would be retribution because I’m going against medical advice,” he said.

Warne added to BBC Radio Sheffield: “The medical advice was that nine days’ isolation was enough and I have enough players within the football club to get the game on.

“They [EFL doctors] said the game is playable, and there is the possibility of a points deduction which I do not want hanging over our heads.”

BBC Sport understands EFL medical staff can liaise with counterparts at a club, but only a club can decide whether it wishes to call a game off on medical grounds.

As per usual EFL guidelines on the issue, all postponements are subject to an investigation.

BBC Sport also understands that the EFL’s laboratory was shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day but has been available to clubs for the majority of the festive period.

Warne said an unnamed player is awaiting test results after reporting coronavirus symptoms on the final day of the Millers’ isolation period.

“We’ve had really good protocol here but, the speed of Covid now, once it hits one person and you’re not aware of it, then it can just obliterate the dressing room,” he added.

“That’s what we’ve seen happen to us since the day after the Blackburn game.

“You do not want games off – I’ve worked out with the international break, we now play every four days, which is going to be a tough order.

“But in circumstances like this, and I don’t moan much, I feel just a little bit on the hard end of the decision.

“I think I’ve got three or four (on the bench) if I’m lucky, so very slim pickings. It does seem harsh, even more so when you’ve been out for nine days as you would probably use all five subs.”


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