MANAGER Paul Warne has his immediate sights on strengthening the spine of his Rotherham United side, in preparation for the back half of the season.
Striker Michael Smith signed in on a permanent deal from Bury yesterday, becoming the first January arrival.
Although no other arrivals are imminent, the Millers' newly crowned Manager of the Month has irons in the fire.
“I have my heart set on one defender but I won’t know whether he is available until later in the month,” he told the Advertiser ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Oldham. “I’m trying to get at least one central midfielder in and maybe another striker.
“On Monday I had nearly 70 phone calls, things change on an hourly basis. I don’t want to change loads because I don’t think we’ve got loads wrong. I just think we might need some more legs up top and some more legs in the middle to cover ourselves because once the window shuts we are snookered.”
Warne confirmed that he still liked one of his previous targets, Forest Green Rovers frontman Christian Doidge, but played down reports linking him with Chesterfield striker Kristian Dennis.
The Millers’ experienced centre-half, Richard Wood, has been attracting attention from the Spireites.
New arrival...Michael Smith from Bury.
Free agent Giles Coke, the former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder, has been training at Roundwood in the run-up to tomorrow’s clash at Boundary Park.
Winger Jon Taylor is back from injury but Darren Potter is still some way away from a return from his Achilles problem.
Rotherham, who saw skipper Lee Frecklington depart for Lincoln City yesterday, will be looking to extend their unbeaten six-match run and know that a good result could take them back into the League One play-off frame.
Added Warne: “We have 20 games left. It seems like the start of a mini-season and we’ll have a right go.
“Richie Wellens has done well at Oldham and they’ve picked up some good results. They lost only by a goal to Charlton and to Shrewsbury, who are flying. I watched the Charlton game back and they could have won there. We’re not underestimating them by any stretch of the imagination.”
Meanwhile, Millers boss Warne beat Kenny Jackett (Portsmouth), Derek Adams (Plymouth) and Shrewsbury’s Paul Hurst to the League One manager of the month award for December, after leading the team from mid-table to the brink of the play-off positions in December. They collected 13 points from six games, including three away wins.
Warne told the Advertiser: “I don’t really regard it as Manager of the Month, I regard it as Team of the Month. I take pride on behalf of the lads and the staff, not personal pride. Everyone worked really hard in December to get us there or thereabouts and this award just really confirms what we have said all along. The players had a bit of wobble but they have really come true and done really well in recent weeks and it is really nice for them to get appreciation for the month they’ve had.
“They’re an amazing group and I really enjoy coming to work every day and working with them. The award is for everyone, the back room staff and the players.”
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