Bid in for a new target in Rotherham United centre-half hunt

Paul WarnePaul Warne
Paul Warne
ROTHERHAM United are making a fresh bid to bring in a central defender as they gear up for next week's League One opening day.

The Millers have been on the trail of Blackpool's Curtis Tilt and another central defender, believed to be Leyton Orient's Marvin Ekpiteta.

Yesterday, they submitted an offer for a third target in an attempt to bolster their defensive options following the departure of Semi Ajayi to West Bromwich Albion

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Manager Paul Warne, aware that Blackpool are determined to keep Tilt, is now concentrating his efforts on Ekpiteta and the new, unnamed contender.

“There is a bid in and I'm putting in a bid today for another centre-half,” he told the Advertiser on Thursday morning.

“I don't want to collect players for the sake of collecting them, but we have got a small squad. It looks like we've brought loads in but we've lost no end of players as well.”

Marvin Ekpiteta

Warne took his number of summer signings to eight this week with the arrival of goalkeeper Daniel Iversen and midfielder Jamie Lindsay while a deal for Irish left-back Trevor Clarke is expected to be completed shortly.

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Rotherham, who thought they had landed Tilt earlier in the close season until Blackpool reneged on the move, have increased their original bid for Ekpiteta.

“I definitely need to strengthen at the back,” Warne said. “It has been well reported that I've gone for a centre-half and the deal hasn't come off even though we thought it was definitely going to happen.”

“There is another player we enquired about a couple of months ago and we've upped our offer a couple of times.

“I'm putting in a bid for another one today. I'm hopeful of bringing one of them in. The window stays open until the beginning of September so it's not imperative we have one in for the start of the season.

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“I just want to make sure I get the right one. I might have to start the season without one coming in but, ideally, we need another defender.

Striker Kyle Vassell is wanted by Salford City although a deal with the League Two club has yet to be struck.

Warne has other strike targets in mind if Vassell does depart but would prefer to hang on to one of the stars of pre-season.

“There is interest from a few clubs in a couple of my players, Kyle being one of them,” Warne said. “I'm managing him on a daily basis on the assumption that he's going to be here.

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“I don't foresee a situation where he won't be my player. But if he does go, I have other players that I'd like to bring in.

“I like Kyle. He's had a really good pre-season and has been pretty fundamental to most of our good forward play going.

“I don't see him leaving. Sincerely, I'd like to think he will be our player this season and I haven't been shown anything yet to make me think anything different.”

On the potential switch of Clarke, aged 21, from Shamrock Rovers to AESSEAL New York Stadium, Warne said: “I think it's about done. It's virtually all agreed. I can't see it not happening. I'm very confident that Trevor will become our player.”

The Millers conclude their pre-season programme tomorrow with a home friendly against Leicester City (kick-off 3pm).