Rotherham United: Long-stay Warne wants four January Millers signings

Paul Warne
Paul Warne
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Caretaker boss Paul Warne is targeting four signings in the January transfer window as he prepares for an extended spell in the Rotherham United hot-seat.

Warne says chairman Tony Stewart has hinted that he wants him to remain at the helm for the rest of the Championship campaign and he is already hard at work on next month’s potential arrivals.

New head of recruitment Jamie Johnson, formerly of Brighton and Hove Albion, is now in place and playing a key role in the bid to bring in players.

“I’m aware the chairman is pleased with what I am doing, what the staff are doing and what the players are doing,” said Warne who will take charge of his fifth match when Wigan Athletic visit New York Stadium on Boxing Day.

“The chairman wants me to continue until further notice. He has insinuated the fact he would like me to have it until the end of the season.”

Fitness coach Warne took over with the Millers bottom of the table after the short-lived reigns of Alan Stubbs and Kenny Jackett and wants to add “pace and power” to his side.

Kirk Broadfoot

Kirk Broadfoot

“I have had conversations with the chairman, chief executive and head of recruitment, who has just started and has hit the ground running,” he revealed.

“When I first took this job, I didn’t think it would lead into January. It’s not like recruitment is one of my career paths. I am new to it.

“I am speaking to players all of the time to try to get players that I see fit. The recruitment guy is in to deal with everything because that is his skill set.

“My skill set is press-ups and squats! His is getting people in.

“I prefer signings rather than loans. I like lads who have committed to the club and are here for the duration. If I could bring lads in, I would probably make two signings and two loans. I want three or four good men to come in and help the lads out.”

Warne, who is also ready to let some players leave, added: “While I am in charge, the chairman will back my decisions. But we have got a process where everyone has to agree before we get a player on board. Hopefully, the recruitment will be tighter.

“I have targets I want. I want pace and power in the team. At the minute, I have a group of honest, hard-working lads, but that raw pace and power gets you up the pitch, especially the way we play on the counter-attack.

“I know everyone else wants that, so I am well aware that if Rotherham want a player in League One who has scored 15 goals and is very quick, I won’t be the only one who phones about him.”

Midfielder Richie Smallwood was allowed to leave Rotherham by Stubbs to join League One Scunthorpe on loan and Warne will contemplate a New Year recall.

“I like Richie, I’ve always liked Richie,” the interim manager said. “Hes done a good job for us here. We will have to give some serious thought to whether we are going to call him back in the next couple of weeks.

“I haven’t got to make a decision until January 10. He is a Scunthorpe player and I respect that.”

The Boxing Day clash will come too soon for Kirk Broadfoot but the centre-half, out since August following back surgery, is desperate to play and could possibly make the squad during the festive period.

Greg Halford is back training after an ankle injury and Warne believes the January 2 visit to Leeds United could be when the utility man returns to the first-team fold.

Lewis Price is set to continue in goal, with Lee Camp still troubled by a knee probem.

Warne is happy to remain in his role for as long as Stewart asks him to, but accepts the sudden emergence of a standout candidate could alter the picture.

“I am aware how football is,” he said. “It takes one person to phone up the chairman who the chairman likes the look of.

“In the same way, he could tell me I have got a three-year deal. But if I lost the next 10 games 3-0, I know it’s not a three-year deal.

“I know how football works, but I have got a good relationship with the chairman. We are both honest men and I will keep ticking along.”

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