'Not just yet' .... Boss Paul Warne on Rotherham United contract talks

'Not just yet' .... Boss Paul Warne on Rotherham United contract talks

By Paul Davis | 28/09/2021

'Not just yet' .... Boss Paul Warne on Rotherham United contract talks
Chiedozie Ogbene

ROTHERHAM United are holding back on contract talks to focus on their push for League One promotion.

The Millers, who leapt into the play-off places with victory at Bolton Wanderers last weekend, have a number of players coming to the end of their deals next summer, including winger Chiedozie Ogbene, goalkeeper Viktor Johansson and midfielder Jamie Lindsay.

However, manager Paul Warne says negotiations over new terms with any of his squad are unlikely to begin until much closer to the New Year.

“I’m not in talks with anyone at the moment,” the boss said.

“We will have to look at it before the January transfer window.

“At the moment, we are just concentrating on playing games. We’re doing well and I don’t want anything to affect that. It’s all going in the right direction.

“The staff will talk behind the scenes and make decisions, but I very much doubt I will be speaking to the players or their representatives in the next few weeks.”

Among the other senior players whose deals are due to expire at the end of the campaign are centre-halves Michael Ihiekwe and Richard Wood, centre-forwards Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo and wide men Mickel Miller and Kieran Sadlier.

The club have an option on Ogbene and will be able to extend his contract by a further 12 months.

Warne, whose team are at home to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday and then face Wimbledon at AESSEAL New York Stadium on Tuesday, accepts there will inevitably be departures.

“At the end of every year, there’s always a couple moving on,” he said.

Rotherham have risen to sixth spot after playing their best football of the season in their last two outings, at Lincoln City and then at the UniBol Stadium.

“It’s a nice psychological boost to be up there,” Warne said. “Our performances have been really good and it’s good to get the points to back that up.

“This season, anyone can beat anyone in this division.

“Every game is a potential banana skin for the clubs at the top. To get higher up the table is just what we wanted. To jump from 13th to sixth last Saturday was great news.”

Ogbene was taken off at half-time against Bolton, still feeling the effects of his blistering wing-back display at Lincoln the Tuesday before, but is now back to his usual sharpness.

“He trained well on Tuesday and looked like his usual self,” Warne said.

“It’s difficult when wingers are playing as wing-backs, and even more so with Chieo because he’s so powerful and there is a bigger risk of injury or fatigue.

“For him to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday can sometimes be a bit of a stretch.

“We don’t want to wrap him in cotton wool but if we have to leave him out for a midweek game now and again then that’s what we’ll do.”

Will Grigg made his first league start for the Millers at Bolton and is likely to retain his place for the visit of The Alex who are managed by Rotherham old boy David Artell.

“I’ve been pleased with him,” Warne said. “He’s a different striker to the others we’ve got. He’s got a bit of guile.

“That chance Ben Wiles had with his header at Bolton came from a great step-over from Will and then a great cross in.”

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