Players close to re-signing, Michael Smith on new-deal talks and the Miller attracting all the transfer-window attention from other clubs ... Rotherham United stories from the back page of this week's Advertiser

Players close to re-signing, Michael Smith on new-deal talks and the Miller attracting all the transfer-window attention from other clubs ... Rotherham United stories from the back page of this week's Advertiser

By Paul Davis | 05/01/2022

Players close to re-signing, Michael Smith on new-deal talks and the Miller attracting all the transfer-window attention from other clubs ... Rotherham United stories from the back page of this week's Advertiser
Michael Smith

 

TWO Rotherham United players could be close to committing their futures to the Millers after the club brought forward contract negotiations.

Manager Paul Warne had initially intended to wait until this month before instigating serious talks with members of his first-team squad.

However, he chose to set the ball rolling with three players in the week before Christmas and believes two of them are close to extending their stays at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“There are conversations and counter-offers going on,” he said. “I think two of three look more promising. I don’t think all three do, realistically.

“We have done everything we possibly can to keep our players whose contracts are running down. Hopefully by the end of this week two of them will have signed.”

Rotherham have a number of players, including star men Michael Smith and Chiedozie Ogbene, coming to the end of their deals next summer but have the option to extend by 12 months in the majority of cases. That option doesn’t apply to 18-goal Smith.

The table-topping League One Millers head to Championship QPR in the FA Cup third round on Saturday and will be without wing-back Mickel Miller whose hamstring niggle is still troubling him.

“He won’t train until Monday,” Warne said. “He’s okay but we won’t take a risk with him.”

The tie will be decided on the day, with extra time and penalties if necessary, as the FA have scrapped replays for the next two rounds to avoid adding to the fixture congestion caused by Covid postponements.

Warne and midfielder Dan Barlaser have been nominated for the Sky Bet League One December Manager and Player of the Month awards respectively and will find out tomorrow (Friday) if they have won.

Rotherham are in the hat for today’s EFL Trophy quarter-final draw following Tuesday’s 4-2 win at Crewe Alexandra and could be paired with a southern team as the tournament is no longer regionalised.

Meanwhile, three youngsters have returned from non-league loan spells and Rotherham may seek to further their development by arranging temporary stays at clubs further up the pyramid.

Centre-half Jake Hull and attacking midfielder Jacob Gratton are back from Guiseley and striker Jerome Greaves’ time with Matlock Town has come to an end.

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YOUNG Rotherham United striker Josh Kayode is a wanted man in the January transfer window.

Approaches have been flooding in for the 21-year-old who scored his first Millers goal in the EFL Trophy win at Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday.

Kayode, a Republic of Ireland under-21 international, has made 15 appearances for League One Rotherham this season and is highly rated by manager Paul Warne.

“The enquiries are almost on a minute-by-minute basis,” the boss said. “Everyone keeps contacting me about him. Every time I answer the phone it is about JJ.”

Kayode came through the club’s youth ranks after moving from Ireland when he was 16. He scored goals for Carlisle United in a season-long loan last term when his quality marked him out as one of the most dangerous players in League Two.

Rotherham see him as an important part of their squad and would prefer him to continue his development with them.

Warne said there had been no bids so far for any of his senior players and would be happy if January was a month of no arrivals and no exits.

“I’m not expecting to do any business full stop,” he said. “It could be a very dour month interviewing me.

“I can’t see anyone leaving and I can’t see us bringing in anyone either. I still think we need to strengthen in a certain position but I have to balance things and at the moment I’m happy with the group I’ve got.

“I might say something different in a couple of weeks but at the moment nothing is happening.”

The Millers have identified the players they would try to sign if they were to lose any of their first-team squad.

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HITMAN Michael Smith has confirmed that he’s one of the players Rotherham United are talking to about a new contract.

The striker has hit 18 goals this season as the Millers have climbed to the top of League One but could leave in the summer when his present deal expires.

So far, he has rejected the club’s advances about extending his four-year spell at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“Conversations have been had and I’m sure they’ll continue to be had,” he said. “At the minute, the contract thing is at the back of my mind. I’ve got a job to do and that’s to keep helping Rotherham United to win games.”

Smith, with two promotions under his belt since his free transfer from Bury, attracted interest in pre-season from Championship sides.

Chairman Tony Stewart, intent on a return to the second tier for the Millers, has ruled out a sale in the January transfer window unless the money offered reaches “crazy” levels.

“I’m happy with that situation as it stands,” Smith said. “I’m here, I’m a Rotherham player and hopefully I can continue to do a job for them.”

The player’s 18th strike of the season came on Tuesday at Crewe Alexandra in the EFL Trophy and saw him equal his best ever haul for a single campaign.

The previous Saturday he ended a seven-game league drought by bagging both goals in the 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers.

“I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t been bothering me a bit,” he said. “But we were still winning games so I was getting away with the chances I was missing.

“It would have been a different story had we lost those games. I’ve said it before, the team winning is more important to me than me scoring.”



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