Paul Warne on the Rotherham United striker hunt and Freddie Ladapo on his Millers future

Freddie Ladapo has been illFreddie Ladapo has been ill
Freddie Ladapo has been ill
MANAGER Paul Warne is facing up to the fact that he may not land the striker he believes Rotherham United need as they aim for a hat-trick of League One promotions.

The Millers have three recognised frontmen and the boss says it is “essential” they sign a fourth before the transfer window comes to a close on August 31.

However, Warne, who took Rotherham up from the third tier in 2018 and 2020, admits the funds simply may not be available for him to bring in the quality of player required to make their frontline stronger.

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“I still think a centre-forward is essential but it has to be a deal that is affordable to us and one that improves us,” he said. “If there isn’t anyone out there who can improve us and is affordable then we can’t get anyone.

“We’re doing everything we can to make it happen but, as I sit here today, I haven’t got someone who I think is imminently coming into the building.”

After making six summer signings, Rotherham are looking for a loan deal where they would pay a percentage of any new arrival’s wages.

Warne, preparing his squad for Saturday’s AESSEAL New York Stadium derby showdown with Sheffield Wednesday, has Michael Smith, Freddie Ladapo and youngster Josh Kayode as his strike options and says that, at a push, winger Chieodozie Ogbene could also play in a central attacking role.

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Last week, the Millers were waiting to hear if a young striker had chosen them ahead of other League One sides as his loan destination for the season but there have been no new developments in that particular chase.

On the general search, Warne said: “We’re having conversations all the time to try to make something happen.

“I’m not over-confident it will happen, in the same way I don’t think Manchester City are over-confident they are going to get Harry Kane. Until the player is in the building, I’m on the side of caution.”

The Millers banked £1.1 million from the sale of Matt Crooks to Middlesbrough last month but Championship relegation has seen them take a hit of around £5m in lost TV revenue and Premier League solidarity payments.

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Also, like every other club, they have suffered the financial effects of the Covid pandemic.

Warne could free up money by allowing one of his existing players to leave but says there is no-one he wants to let go.

Meanwhile, Ladapo, who missed Tuesday’s win at Morecambe through illness, thinks he will remain at New York this season.

Other clubs have made enquiries in the past about the 28-year-old who is in the final year of his contract

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The forward acknowledged he would like to play at a higher level but said: “I see myself being a Rotherham player. The management know my ambitions as a footballer. I always strive for the best. I do want to score goals, I want to win, I want to be successful. That helps me while I’m here.”

Ladapo suffered a sore throat in the build-up to last Saturday’s match at Wigan Athletic.

A Covid test came back negative but he was fit enough only to appear as a second-half substitute and his condition then deteriorated before the Shrimps clash.

“On Monday I got a text at seven in the morning saying Freddie had taken a turn for the worse,” Warne said. “ A doctor encouraged him to go to hospital. I think he has tonsillitis and is allergic to some antibiotics.

“I spoke to him via text on Tuesday and he said he was feeling a little bit better. Hopefully we will have him in contention for the weekend.”