Rotherham United(N) vs Shrewsbury Town - Friendship out of window as old team-mates face off

Posted Saturday, May 26, 2018 by PA

Rotherham United(N) vs Shrewsbury Town - Friendship out of window as old team-mates face off

Rotherham boss Paul Warne admits it will be “bizarre” coming up against Paul Hurst’s Shrewsbury in the League One play-off final on Sunday.

Warne and Hurst were Millers team-mates between 1999 and 2005 and played in the same team over 200 times, both achieving as players what they are trying to do at Wembley – win promotion to the Championship.

They have remained close friends – even sharing a 35 minute phone call this week – and Warne is hoping he can edge out his pal for the second time in a row after getting the better of another former team-mate Nick Daws when beating Scunthorpe in the semi-finals.

“It is surreal leading the club out at Wembley and to then face my old team-mate who I played over 200 times with is bizarre,” he said.

“Hursty is not the enemy, so it will be weird going into combat. It was the same with Dawsy, I was not over excited when we beat Dawsy here and just walked straight up the tunnel.

“It did not feel as celebratory for me because I was beating a mate. In the same way if I beat Hursty on Sunday, I will be buzzing internally, but I will not be show-offy in any way, as I don’t think that is right as I would have broken the heart of my mate. I would chose to do that obviously, but it will be odd.”

During his playing days Hurst was Mr Rotherham United, making 494 appearances and also playing for the Millers as they beat Shrewsbury at Wembley to win the 1996 Football League Trophy.

But Hurst is willing to let friendships go out of the window for however long it takes for his side to cap off a remarkable season and win promotion to the second tier for the first time since 1989.

“It’ll be great to see Warney and the rest of the lads, but part of me would’ve preferred if it was someone you didn’t have quite as good a relationship with,” said Hurst, whose side were among the favourites for relegation at the start of the season.

“Once it starts I’m not going to think, ‘Oh I like Warney – I’ll take a couple of players off and mess about with the system’.

“I’ll be desperate to win the game. It is a little bit different but with the chance of playing Championship football next season they could be the nicest people in the world but the prize alone stands out massively for both of us.

“Whoever wins it’ll be an absolutely fantastic day and the other team won’t have nice feelings. But overall it’ll still be a great season.

“That’ll be a hard thing for us – to get the perspective and the understanding (of the whole season) – when basically you’re feeling like rubbish.”

Rotherham have a couple of injury concerns to two unnamed players and Jamie Proctor (knee) and Darren Potter (Achilles) miss out while Shrewsbury are at full strength.



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