ROTHERHAM United were hit by a double blow this week as they missed out on one of their main transfer targets and striker Jamie Proctor was left facing a second ruined season in succession.
The Millers had been hoping to sign an attacker from a Premier League outfit on loan but the player has moved to another side.
"There were other clubs in for him and unfortunately it didn’t end with us getting him," manager Paul Warne said. "We were as competitive as we could be."
Proctor, who missed most of last term's League One promotion push after suffering a cruciate injury, has had surgery on a hip complaint and is unlikely to play again in this Championship campaign.
Warne, who takes his 21st-placed side to bottom club Ipswich Town on Saturday, had been optimistic that two new faces would come through the door at AESSEAL New York Stadium before the Town clash.
A Monday meeting with another potential recruitment was postponed while negotiations with his club continue.
"This is for a permanent deal," Warne said. "I'm waiting for the fee to be agreed. I'm not expecting anything to happen before the weekend.
"We're in constant conversations with people. It's the same everywhere. I've been speaking to another manager and he says it's chaos where he is. The pool of players is getting smaller and smaller, if I'm honest, because the big clubs are keeping hold of theirs.
"It changes on a daily basis. I had a phone call on Wednesday about a player I like who wasn't available a week ago and now, suddenly, he is. Hopefully we can get some fresh blood in to help the dressing room out."
There is better news on another forward, with Kyle Vassell closing in on a first-team return after being sideline for seven weeks by a groin issue.
"Vass has trained this week and might be included in the squad for Ipswich, although it may come too soon, " Warne said. "The sooner I can involve him, the more gunpowder I have."
Ipswich, who have more financial muscle than Rotherham, have already made four signings in this month's transfer window.
Warne is keen to emerge from the January wheeling and dealing with his first-choice 11 intact.
"My biggest concern is losing someone," he said. "I'd like to get through the window without losing any of my big hitters. There have been a couple of phone calls - not offers, just people asking what the situation is.
"If offers come in, that's a different conversation to have. There'd have to be a sit-down with the manager, the chairman and the player and all that. Right now, there haven't been any proper offers.
"There is loads of fishing going on with loads of clubs about loads of players."
Meanwhile, the manager sympathised with Proctor, aged 26, who had scored four goals in 18 appearances before his operation.
"I think his season could be over," Warne said."We noticed he was struggling with his movement so investigations have been done into why. The surgery went okay. He has been very unlucky.
"Jamie had a bad year last year. This season he was going well but now he's had a massive setback."
Winger Joe Newell is a doubt for the trip to Portman Road because of a groin injury, but the Millers can add striker Jerry Yates and defender Michael Ihiekwe to their squad after the pair were cup-tied for last Sunday's match at Manchester City.
Rotherham left-back Ben Purrington, who had been on loan at AFC Wimbledon, has now joined Charlton Athletic until the end of the season.
This article first appeared in the Advertiser