YOUNG hot-shot Joshua Kayode will be given his chance to fight for a first-team shirt with Rotherham United next season.
The 20-year-old striker has spent all of this campaign building up his experience on loan at League Two Carlisle United and now his time is coming at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Manager Paul Warne confirmed that the Irish under-21 international, who last week signed a new long-term deal with the Championship Millers, is in his matchday thinking for 2021/22.
“Hopefully he can come and compete in our squad next year,” the boss said.
Dublin-born Kayode, who joined Rotherham’s youth set-up when he was 16, has been a stand-out performer for Carlisle, scoring six times in 32 appearances playing mainly on the wing.
“We had loads of interest in him in the January transfer window from other clubs wanting to take him on loan,” Warne said.
“I spoke to a couple of League Two managers who both said that when their teams played against Carlisle he was the best player on the pitch. They said he was one of the best forwards in the division.”
The centre-forward, a loan hit at non-league Gateshead last season, wants to follow in the footsteps of another player to come through the ranks: midfielder Ben Wiles who has just passed the 100-game milestone for the Millers.
The new contract runs until 2024 and Warne said: “It’s great news for us and for Josh. He’s done really well again this year and we’re trying to reward and encourage our young players.
“We want them to come through and play a part in the first team.”
The Millers are in regular contact with Kayode through coach Matt Hamshaw — his mentor during his junior progression — who watched him play for Carlisle at Bolton on Tuesday night.
Warne said: “His attitude is spot on. He went to Gateshead the year before and then went to Carlisle and kicked on again this season. We’re really pleased with him.”
Rotherham, fighting for their second-tier survival, were at home to Middlesbrough last night when Chiedozie Ogbene was expected to be on the bench again.
The flying winger is fit after a six-month injury lay-off and Warne explained his absence from the team.
“He was out for a long time,” the manager said. “It’s been disappointing for him, as it has been for a few of the other injured lads.
“They come back and the normal protocol would be for them to train and play in a couple of behind-closed-doors games. But our schedule means that that has been impossible.
“We haven’t seen Chieo at his flying best yet. If he was to be selected, he could play. “There are a few lads who are available to start but you wouldn’t get much more than 65 minutes out of them.”
The Millers travel to South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley on Saturday before a trip to Brentford next Tuesday.
First-year professional Jake Hull, aged 19, has signed a contract extension until 2022 and Rotherham will look to loan out the defender next season.
ROTHERHAM United are hoping Clark Robertson will play again this season despite the defender’s injury jinx striking yet again.
The centre-half was due to miss last night’s Middlesbrough match after hurting his achilles in Sunday’s clash with Birmingham City but a scan has shown up no serious damage.
He had only just returned from a hamstring pull and before then had missed a large part of the Championship campaign with groin and foot issues.
“With about 15 minutes to go against Birmingham, Robbo said he was tightening up and felt his achilles was going to go,” manager Paul Warne said. “We thought that, potentially, he would be in a much better place 48 hours down the line but he wasn’t.”
The 27-year-old Scot, in the final year of his contract at AESSEAL New York Stadium, has managed only 16 games this season.
No timescale is being put on his return but it is thought to be a matter of days rather than weeks.
Asked if the injuries were down purely to bad luck, Warne said: “I think so. You can’t help genetically how you’re made.
“He trains as hard as everybody else and lives right. He’s a family man so it’s not like he’s a playboy in nightclubs; not that anyone can be these days because of Covid.
“He has a perfect lifestyle but he has been plagued with injuries which has been unfortunate for him.
“He always manages to bounce back and play and when he plays you know what you’ve been missing.”
Robertson has been offered a new deal along with Matt Olosunde, Michael Smith and Matt Crooks but none of the quartet are close to signing.
“Nothing has moved in any direction,” Warne said.
One player who has put pen to paper is Richard Wood and the boss said of the veteran captain’s one-year extension: “It is fully deserved. He’s been really good this year.”