Rotherham United: Paul Warne interview

Paul Warne admits the recent big freeze has been making him go stir crazy.

The evergreen Rotherham United striker and self-confessed fitness fanatic – who doubles up as the club's fitness coach – can most definitely be described as someone who loathes couch life and sitting still, with the cold snap causing him plenty of headaches.

Spending plenty of time on the phone trying to organise alternative indoor training venues when the snow engulfed South Yorkshire – which suffered horrendously on the weather front last week – was stressful enough with the Millers outdoor training facilities near Rotherham out of bounds due to the elements.

But the logistics of players getting to any sessions booked were even more of a hazard, with members of the first-team squad dotted across Yorkshire, Lancashire and the North and East Midlands.

It ensured that several days were just a no-go last week, with Warne himself unable to get off his estate situated in a village near Doncaster on one occasion as much of Britain became gridlocked following the snow deluge.

The situation has eased slightly this week – although not without its problems still – so expect Warne to be keeping an eye on the weather reports more than most!

Warne said: "I've had a bit of cabin fever.. I've been sledging with the kids, but I've needed to have a real blow, fitness-wise.

"When you are so used to doing it (training) and can't, it's really weird – there was three days when I really struggled last week.

"For me, it's been an absolute nightmare. We were in on the Monday (last week) and just went to the gym. We were tempted to use the 3G pitch, but that had too much snow on it and the health and safety (officials) wouldn't let us on it.

"Getting suitable training venues was difficult. Apart from Crewe, who have the best indoor facilities, I presume everyone (in League Two) has got the same headache as we have as we've all been scrapping around for the same facilities.

"Most are rented out to schools in the week and you have to fight your way into one.

"I suppose most people were in the same boat. I don't think anyone will miss this weather!

"We actually did plan to use the (Doncaster) Dome (last week), but then the lads couldn't get in.

"Then I couldn't get out of my village; the actual road into the village was alright, but I couldn't get off the road I lived on! If someone had offered me a million quid, I wouldn't have been able to get off!"

He added: "The problem we have, which isn't so uniform in football, is that League Two players don't get paid to move around the country.

"The problem for us is we have a few players in Liverpool, a few in Manchester, a few in Leeds, a couple in Derby and a few in Chesterfield. So even if we could find somewhere suitable, you can't get them to do, say an eight-hour journey to do an hour's training in the gym really.

"So the whole transport issue meant we weren't able to train much last week, although this week, we're back on track.

"We trained on the track at the Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Monday, which was good and we just had a mini pre-season for the first

few days and just ran, ran and ran!"

With Millers players left to their own devices and scattered across the length and breath of the north, Warne admits that monitoring any fitness work from 'home' is nigh on impossible, with the onus being very much on the individual to keep themselves ticking over.

Although the threat of a fine from boss Ronnie Moore for anyone not

keeping in condition should prove deterrent enough!

It's something the playing staff got used to on occasions during the Siberian-type arctic blast at the end of last year, which extended into the first part of 2010, with no-one suffering more on that front than the Millers.

With the first-team out of action for the best part of six weeks from December 12 to January 19, when they didn't kick a League Two ball in anger and suffered six successive postponements and training cancelled several times, keeping abreast with fitness work and personal discipline grew to be second nature to the players, who didn't want to be caught cold on their return to action.

With the largely open-sided Don Valley Stadium basically an athletics venue with just one third of the stadium covered, the Millers' home is prone to the whims of elements more than most, with three successive home games falling victim to the weather in the Christmas and early new year period last term.

It remains to be seen if the Millers – whose league game at Gillingham was an early casualty to the weather last Thursday – cop the same winter blues this term, although the signs aren't great, with extended homework a possibility for the players again if the conditions really bite.

Warne added: "They all had a programme to keep to last week. But apart from actually standing over them and watching them, you can't guarantee anyone does it really – although we do have heart monitors.

"To be fair, I do trust people – although I'm probably too optimistic about human beings, to be honest! But they are self-employed lads and if they don't choose to do it, it's their choice really.

"I could see on the track this week that most of the lads looked decent and comfortable, although they don't want to get caught out by the gaffer! But you treat them like men, at the end of the day.

"When you have the whole day off, coming to the gym for an hour isn't that hard and the ones who could, I think did."

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