MANAGER Paul Warne has virtually ruled out the prospect of Rotherham United making any permanent signings during the January transfer window.
The boss still hopes to add an attacker and a left-sided player to his Championship squad but says any arrivals are almost certain to be loans.
Warne says that while he can’t guarantee there will be any incomings, he expects to be busy in the final stages of the window which closes at 11pm on Monday February 1.
“I cannot see a permanent deal happening,” he said this week. “As I speak to you now, I do not have guaranteed incomings. Unless a player is going to improve the starting 11, I don’t see the point in bringing him in.
“The recruitment team are working as hard as they can to put players in front of us who we all think will improve us.
“I’d like to bring in a couple but at this moment I’m dubious about whether it’ll happen. I knew this window would be difficult. It has been.”
The Millers are locked in a second-tier survival battle, just as they were two years ago when only one player came in during January and the club were eventually relegated.
Warne later pointed to that lack of recruitment as a key factor in his side going down and is fully aware of the importance of reinforcing his squad.
“We are a club who tend to do their January business late in the window,” he said. “Fingers crossed, we do strengthen, but if we don’t, we don’t and it’s not through a lack of trying from everyone at the club.
“I’m confident we will have a couple of new faces in but, as I speak now, I don’t know who they are.”
Several players have been told they can leave AESSEAL New York Stadium this month, with Curtis Tilt, Trevor Clarke, Billy Jones, Adam Thompson and Jamie Proctor, who has just returned from a temporary spell at Newport County, thought to be the ones who could move out.
“It’s possible that a couple of players will leave the building shortly,” Warne said. “They’re not players who have played a massive part in recent weeks or months.
“As I’m speaking to you now, my phone is ringing and it’s a club who want to take one of my players. I would expect departures by the end of the week.”
Rotherham have been playing a wingless 3-5-2 formation but could change their system if they want to now that wide men Chiedozie Ogbene and Kieran Sadlier are on the brink of comebacks from long-term injuries.
Warne’s targets are a forward — although he stressed it doesn’t have to be a central striker — and someone who can operate on the left flank as a full-back or wing-back.
“Everybody likes to freshen up their goal threat,” he said. “That may be an attacking midfielder or another option out wide.
“With Kieran and Chieo coming back and Flo (Florian Jozefzoon) available, it does allow us to play a different way.
“If it was a wide player who’d bring us goal assists and goals, we’d look at that. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an out and out ‘9’.”
Rotherham have no match this weekend because scheduled opponents Luton Town are playing in the FA Cup. They are back in action next Wednesday at Middlesbrough (7pm).
INJURED wingers Chiedozie Ogbene and Kieran Sadlier could be back in the first-team frame by the time of Rotherham United’s next home game.
The duo had been due to rejoin Paul Warne’s Championship squad next Monday after being sidelined for months by knee and ankle problems respectively
But they are now expected to work out with the main group today (Thursday) or tomorrow, opening the door to them being up for selection for the AESSEAL New York Stadium clash with Swansea City a week on Saturday.
Next Wednesday’s trip to Middlesbrough is likely to come just too soon.
“I think they are going to join in training Thursday or Friday,” manager Paul Warne said this week.
“We don’t think they will be available for the Boro game but, all things being well and with a week’s training under their belts, they could be up for consideration for the match after.
“They have a few boxes still to tick before then. They both look in really good fettle. They’re on the grass all the time now with the physios before they come over to us.”
The Millers have a blank weekend because their match at Luton Town has been postponed but there will be no rest for Warne’s men.
“We’ll have a game among ourselves and with the youth team on Saturday,” the boss said.
“A few of the lads need a bit of a top-up. They’ll be in Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
The Luton game will now take place on Tuesday March 9, kick-off 7pm.
Meanwhile, Rotherham are trying to arrange a loan to a League Two club for young centre-half Jake Cooper who has returned from a second spell at National League North Gateshead FC.
Lower-league sides have been hit hard financially by coronavirus and a deal will be harder to fix up than in past seasons.
“We’re trying to get him into league football but if that doesn’t happen then we’ll definitely look at him going back to Gateshead,” Warne said. “It’s been good for him.
“He needs to play games, Lower-league clubs and non-league clubs have their problems at the moment. It’s making it difficult for our young pros to go out.”
First-year professional Jake Hull had been due to join a side lower down the pyramid on a youth loan last month until Covid concerns led to their league being halted.