ROTHERHAM United are considering recalls for loan duo Curtis Tilt and Josh Kayode as part of their dealings in the New Year transfer window.
Manager Paul Warne, who wants to make up to four new signings in January and predicts a similar number of departures from AESSEAL New York Stadium, says he will decide in the next week.
Centre-half Tilt has been building up his fitness with League One Wigan Athletic after hip surgery while young striker Kayode has been winning rave reviews at League Two promotion-chasers Carlisle United where he has been sent to build up his experience.
“Yes, I have thought about bringing them back,” Warne said. “We’ve been playing with a back three and that would be a system that really suits Curtis. We’re thinking about Josh as well.”
Tilt, aged 29, joined Rotherham for £100,000 from Blackpool last January but has made only a single appearance because of injury. Twenty-year-old Kayode, yet to make his league debut for the Championship Millers, is regarded as one of the best prospects ever to come through the club’s youth system.
Warne, whose Championship side played at Blackburn last night and are at home to Derby County this Saturday, said: “With both of them, we have to think: ‘Look, they’re doing well on their loans but would they improve us in this division?’
“If they’re coming back to sit and watch, recalling them would be pointless. But they’ve both done really well and I’ll speak to the players and their agents. We’ll come to a decision about it in the next week or so.”
Rotherham refused Wigan permission to use Tilt in the FA Cup in November in case they needed him themselves when they head to Everton in the third round on January 9. Republic of Ireland under-21 international Kayode, a fast, athletic centre-forward who can also play on the wing, was allowed to play in the competition for Carlisle.
Warne, hit by long-term injuries to five players, intends to be busy next month as he looks to safeguard Rotherham’s status in the second tier and has already said a new left-back is a priority target because of Joe Mattock’s absence.
“There will possibly be three or four in and three, four or five out,” he said. “That will freshen up the team and let us have a right crack at the second half of the season.
“I have to get some out because I’m right on the edge of the 25-man limit for the squad and need to free up room.
“Players will have to leave for players to come in. We’re not a club that can run with 29 players and have four just training every day and have no inclusion in the squad.”
THE injury crisis that has blighted Rotherham United’s return to the Championship should finally start to ease next month.
The Millers, back in the second tier after last year’s promotion, have been robbed of the services of five key players who all suffered long-term traumas during the first third of the campaign.
Two of them, midfielder Shaun MacDonald and centre-half Clark Robertson, are pencilled in for comebacks soon after the festive period.
“Shauny Mac and Robbo should be training with the squad in early January,” manager Paul Warne said. “Both have had the green lights from their surgeons about their breaks and have started stages of running.
“I’ve been told by the physios that I should be able to have Shaun training again the week of the FA Cup tie against Everton, although obviously he won’t be match-ready, and I should have Robbo, if everything goes really well, the week after.”
The return of both can’t come soon enough. MacDonald had been in the best form of his Rotherham career before breaking his leg at Stoke City in October and Robertson, out since September after having a foot fracture pinned, is a quality left-sided central defender who also offers cover at left-back.
That has become a problem position now that Joe Mattock is one of the players out for an extended spell and Warne is hoping to recruit in that role in the New Year transfer window.
“We tried to sign a left-back in the summer but that didn’t work out in the end,” he said.
“We’re playing Wilesy (midfielder Ben Wiles) out of position at the moment. It would be great to have Robbo back. He’s a big player for us.”
The other three major injury victims, winger Chiedozie Ogbene (knee operation), winger Kieran Sadlier (ankle surgery) and Mattock (ankle op) still have some way to go in their rehabilitations.
The Millers were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup at New York on Tuesday, going down to an 88th-minute goal.