JAMIE Proctor’s future’s looks to lie away from Rotherham United after manager Paul Warne labelled him his “fifth-choice striker”.
The 28-year-old is behind George Hirst, Freddie Ladapo, Michael Smith and Kyle Vassell in the Millers’ Championship pecking order and has yet to make a matchday squad this season.
With the close of the transfer window less than three weeks away, Proctor, whose time at AESSEAL New York Stadium has been blighted by injury, may choose to try to find another club.
“Procs has trained really well and looked really good, in fairness to him, but at this moment — and I have said this to Procs — he is fifth-choice striker,” Warne said.
“He has a decision to make if he wants to leave or stay and compete.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in two or three games’ time. He could be starting, so I don’t want to say things that could bite me. But when the window shuts, he might still be fifth-choice striker and can’t get anywhere near the squad.
“That is going to be the same for a few of the lads. There are a few on the periphery. Procs hasn’t done anything wrong, but in my opinion, at this moment, the other lads are a bit ahead of him.”
Proctor, who cost £75,000 when he arrived from Bolton Wanderers in 2017, is in the final year of his contract. He impressed when he first joined but has been held back by two knee operations and hip surgery and has made only 29 Millers appearances. He spent last season on loan at League Two Scunthorpe United and then National League AFC Fylde before undergoing his second knee op.
Warne added: “Sometimes you get picked because you do something amazing in training or you have a few good days, but the standard of the strikers is so high here that it might have to be a suspension or injury to get him in.”
Proctor, who has launched his own coaching company, said a fortnight ago: “I’ve trained all pre-season, I am fit and available and good to go.
“Even though I have been ‘fit-ish’ at stages over the past three years, my knee has never been right for large portions of that time.
“Coming back this season, it is the first time it does feel back to where it should be. Hopefully we can keep it like that. I am fit and available whenever I may or may not be needed. Only time will tell with that.”
AN ACT of kindness by manager Paul Warne paved the way for former Rotherham United loanee Hakeeb Adelakun to move to another club.
The boss was contemplating bringing back the winger for a second spell at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
But, with other transfer targets more of a priority for the Millers, Warne sang Adelakun’s praises to League One Hull City when the Tigers showed an interest in taking the 24-year-old on loan from Bristol City.
Warne said: “I spoke to the Hull manager (Grant McCann) when he phoned me for a recommendation and I said: ‘I am sort of still interested but not a 100 per cent because I am trying to get something else through.’
“No offence to Haks, but I needed something else before I needed a winger. I really like Grant and I couldn’t lie to him so I told him: ‘If you can get him, get him.’ Grant begged me not to go for him.
“I think Haks will do brilliantly at Hull. I wish him all the best and maybe our paths will meet at a different time.”
Adelakun, who helped Rotherham win promotion to the Championship last term, has agreed a season-long deal with the Tigers.
Meanwhile, a player who Warne has signed this summer has wasted no time in fitting in with the Millers.
Twenty-one-year-old striker George Hirst has joined for the season from Leicester City and made his first start in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Birmingham City.
“George has trained really well,” Warne said. “He needs to get used to how we play. He has settled in really well, which is crucial, especially when you are a young lad in a dressing room full of established players