ROTHERHAM United are on the brink of sealing the long-awaited return of last year’s loan star, Dan Barlaser.
The Advertiser understands that a fee has been agreed with parent club Newcastle United and that, as long as there are no late hitches, a permanent deal should be completed by the weekend.
Fans will be delighted at the prospect of the 23-year-old wearing a red-and-white shirt again after his huge impact in last season’s League One promotion campaign.
Other clubs also wanted Barlaser but the player’s heart has been set on coming back to AESSEAL New York Stadium ever since he realised he wouldn’t be part of Newcastle’s Premier League plans. Personal terms are sorted.
Millers manager Paul Warne said: “We’re getting closer to a target. I’m hopeful we’ll have one in the building this week.”
Barlaser is in the final year of his contract with his home-town club which is why the Magpies are prepared to sell rather than loan him out again.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce said last night: "There is something imminent towards Rotherham. I wish him the best of luck. I hope it goes well.
"He needs to go and play football. It would be wrong for me to put him back with the academy now. I didn't want to stand in his way. There is a deal to be done."
Warne, whose Championship side are at home to Huddersfield Town this weekend, is ready to part company with some of his fringe players and believes the exits could start next week.
“We still have a couple of weeks of the transfer window,” he said. “I do expect players to go. I don’t know when. I think loads will happen after this weekend.
“I have had the conversation with the lads concerned. I’ve said if they’re not happy to stay and compete and want to go and play elsewhere then I understand that completely.
“If they don’t feel they have an opportunity to get into the first team here maybe their football careers are elsewhere.”
The players concerned are more likely to leave on loans than permanent deals as the salary cap in Leagues One and Two make permanent switches less attractive in terms of wages.
Warne has already revealed he has talked with striker Jamie Proctor. Right-back Adam Thompson and one of the club’s five centre-halves may also head out of New York.
The visit of Huddersfield should have meant old boy Danny Ward facing Rotherham for the first time since he left in 2017, but the winger is nursing a hamstring injury and is unlikely to make the Terriers’ squad.
Ward played under Warne at Rotherham and the boss is a huge admirer of the attacker.
“It’s a bit double-edged for me that he’s probably not playing,” the manager said. “I’m well aware of his strengths. I love watching Wardy play, even for the opposition. I know that sounds stupid.
“I don’t want to see friends of mine being injured. However, if you can play teams and one of their main players isn’t playing, I suppose that’s a bonus.
“Huddersfield are coming off the back of a good win against Nottingham Forest. They dominated that game so they’ll come here with a lot of confidence.”
Another Millers loanee from last term, winger Josh Koroma, is expected to be in Town’s squad.
“He looks like he’s in really good shape and form,” Warne said.
ROTHERHAM United won’t gamble with the fitness of defender Joe Mattock as they look to build on their promising start to the Championship campaign this weekend.
The newly-promoted Millers are in midtable after the opening three matches and hope to have their left-back available for Saturday’s home clash with Huddersfield Town after he missed the 1-1 draw at Birmingham City.
The 30-year-old was expected back in full training today (Thursday) after a quad niggle but manager Paul Warne will select him against the Terriers only if he is given a 100 per cent clean bill of health.
“I don’t expect Joe to be a problem but I won’t take any unnecessary risks either,” the boss said. “Not when you look at the state of October in terms of how many fixtures there are after the international break.
“I don’t need to take a risk and then have him out for three or four weeks.”
Rotherham have the seasoned Billy Jones as back-up to Mattock. Jones, aged 33, gave away a 90th-minute penalty against Birmingham but otherwise acquitted himself well.
“I thought Billy was excellent last week,” Warne said. “I kept him at the club because he’s a really good, experienced head.
“He’s playing out of position as well. He’s not a left-back. He ‘gets’ the game, he plays the ball on the floor.
“The penalty incident was just a tangle of legs right at the end. It wasn’t ideal, obviously. I thought their lad did well to ‘engage’ it really.”
Young left-back Trevor Clarke and centre-half Clark Robertson were also due to return to the main group this morning after calf and quad issues respectively.
Clarke has been out for a month and Robertson hasn’t played since the September 12 opening day.
Warne said neither of them are likely to feature against Huddersfield.