ROTHERHAM UNITED: Millers backed to gel

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ASSISTANT manager Paul Raynor believes Rotherham United’s new-look squad will quickly gel together when they report back for pre-season training on Monday.

Boss Steve Evans has brought in nine new players over the summer, strengthening every department of a team who fell short of qualifying for the play-offs last season.

He has swooped for goalkeeper Scott Shearer, defenders Nicky Hunt, Ian Sharps and Laurence Wilson, midfielders Michael O’Connor, Kari Arnason and Lionel Ainsworth and strikers Daniel Nardiello and Kayode Odejayi. Indeed, Evans is still searching for two strikers as he looks to bolster the options at his disposal.

But there are concerns Evans and his backroom staff could struggle to integrate the new arrivals into the existing squad in time for their League Two opener with Burton Albion on August 18.

Despite the major personnel shake-up, Raynor is adamant Rotherham will be competitive from the off.

He told The Star: “It [gelling the players] will not be a problem. We have done our business nice and early because we want them in from day one. Other teams are different and they might not make changes until they come back in for pre-season which is their prerogative.”

He added: “The manager has put together a fantastic squad. He spoke to the players and sold them the dream. The squad has got a lot of quality on paper and it has got a lot of people excited and I can’t wait for pre-season.”

Raynor says Rotherham are a “few players short” of mounting a promotion challenge and the club are still looking to add an unnamed young striker to their ranks on a season long loan deal next month.

The Millers have been linked with Ashley Hemmings, who is a free agent after being released by Wolves having spent the majority of last year on loan at Plymouth.

“Rotherham has a new stadium and a new team, the future is really exciting,” insisted Raynor. “Our supporters are here for life and I have no doubt they will see some very exciting times in the season ahead.”