NEW boy Trevor Clarke could be back in action by the end of August as fears ease that he might have suffered a serious injury on the first day of his Rotherham United career.
The young left-back was stretchered off holding his knee in his first Millers outing last Monday and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
But manager Paul Warne, still looking to recruit a centre-half and an attacker as he prepares his team for tomorrow's League One opening-day clash at AFC Wimbledon, revealed that tests have brought welcome news.
"The scans show he hasn't done any cruciate damage," the boss said. "It looks that, worst case, he is going to be out for five or six weeks. That's worst case. Hopefully it won't be that long."
Republic of Ireland youth international Clarke, signed from League of Ireland Premier Division side Shamrock Rovers, was walking without a limp at the club's Roundwood training complex yesterday
The 21-year-old damaged his knee playing in a private match against Newcastle Under-23s before his arrival had even been officially announced.
Initial signs weren't good as he was carried away by medics. "He has had a serious knee injury before so I think his body went into a little bit of shock," Warne said.
Rotherham, having given up on their pursuit of Blackpool central defender Curtis Tilt, have made offers for two other centre-halves, one of whom is Leyton Orient's Marvin Ekpiteta, and a forward.
"We definitely need cover at the back, ideally someone who can play in more than one position," Warne said. "We're no closer. It is a waiting game."
The manager says the Millers won't be putting more money on the table for two of their three targets: "We have gone to our limit on what we think they are worth."
Referring to player number three, one of the central defenders, Warne added: "His club have asked us to leave it with them because they are hoping to get someone in themselves first.
"It's a decent bid. They haven't rejected it. The feedback we have had is 'Just leave it with us for a few days', so hopefully something might come of that."
Three of Warne's men who have been carrying knocks were due back in training yesterday.
Right-back Billy Jones has a heel problem while midfielders Matt Crooks and Jamie Lindsay picked up niggles against Newcastle. Jones is the biggest doubt for the Wimbledon trip.
Warne said he was sorry to see trialist Brad Dockerty depart after he decided against offering the non-league winger, aged 22, a contract.
"The pace was just a little bit too quick for him," he said. "I know it could have been a romantic story but, sadly, we're not a charity and can't just go handing out deals."
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