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Papa Johns Trophy

What have the managers said ahead of the Papa Johns Trophy Final?

2 April 2022

Tomorrow's Papa Johns Trophy Final will see Rotherham United and Sutton United lock horns for the first time in a competitive fixture but the showpiece will also mark a meeting of managers.

Millers manager Paul Warne and Matt Gray of the U's will cross paths for the first time when they take to their adjacent dugouts at Wembley Stadium, with both bosses ready and raring to go.

Here's what they had to say ahead of this weekend's Final on the Official EFL Podcast!

Find all you need to know about the Papa Johns Trophy Final here

Paul Warne on...

The Millers' Wembley history:

"We’ve had three in the last decade. We lost one and won two; we lost against Dagenham when I came back as a player under Ronnie Moore. Then we won under Steve Evans – I’m not sure if anyone ever mentioned that Alex Revell scored two in that game and then Richard Wood. Because we’ve been there a few times through the Play-Offs, people think that it happens to us all the time, but it doesn’t – we could go another 100 years without going there.

"I’m pleased that we’ve sold as many tickets as we have. Playing at Wembley for the lads and for their families is beyond magical; it’s something that many players greater than ours don’t get the opportunity to do. We never downplay it. I want the lads to go and fully enjoy it, whatever the outcome is"

This weekend's opposition:

"I’ve seen quite a bit of them recently. I went to watch them at Oldham last week which killed me because they looked very good. That had a really good promotion season last year and they’ve continued really well in the League above. In fairness, they’re in a promotion push as well. They look like a together group which isn’t easy to do.

"I like the fact all the players know what they’re doing, and I like the fact that the defenders defend. The wide men attack, and they’ve got pace out wide; I’m a big fan of that, as you well know. The centre-forwards are prepared to drop in and they cause you problems. It’s quite uncomplicated and they’re well-oiled."

On Rotherham's preparations:

"It feels a bit surreal, to be honest. We’ve just had the international break, so we haven’t had a game. I’ve given the lads a few days off, so it was like the first day back at school where they were all talking about where they’ve been – they’ve only had three days off, not three weeks. It still seems a long way off because since about late January, we’ve played Saturday-Tuesday constantly, so it’s just been game preparation and game recovery. It seems quite relaxed at the moment."

Matt Gray on...

Winning promotion to the EFL:

"It’s been a whirlwind couple of years. To hit the ground running in the EFL in our first-ever year in the EFL has been a great season for us. We’re still right in the mix to achieve another incredibly dream of maybe going back-to-back promotions, and it’s extremely tight up at the top end of League Two. It would just be unbelievable."

What the competition means to Sutton:

"It’s a competition that I’ve taken seriously from day one for many reasons. When you’ve been successful last year, you want to win everything that you enter. This is another opportunity for us, realistically, to win a competition with the Final being played at Wembley. There are many reasons why not only the League is important, but this competition too.

The Chairman has been unbelievable since I’ve come through the door. He’s been a Chairman 25-plus years. He’s had the cup runs and the promotions, but he’s never under his leadership seen a Sutton team play at Wembley.

"This is going to be a special day for him as well as some of the other volunteers on the board that work so tirelessly behind the scenes, as well as the staff and the players – we’ve got three players who have played at Wembley previously. It’s going to be an exciting and memorable day, but as all football managers will say, the icing on the cake is going there and trying to win."

Sutton's fellow Finalists:

"They’re doing tremendously well in the League. Paul Warne has been there many years and has that experience at the level with already one promotion from that League, so I’m sure they’ll be there or thereabouts. They’re a team very fit and strong; they’ve got many threats and many ways to score a goal and some very good individual players as well. It’s certainly a tough test coming up."

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