Paul Warne wants Rotherham United to turn the loan deals of Tom Adeyemi and Semi Ajayi into permanent transfers in the summer.
The caretaker manager believes there is more chance of centre-half Ajayi staying at New York Stadium but says the Millers will also do all they can to tempt midfielder Adeyemi into remaining in South Yorkshire.
Both players - neither of whom is eligible for Saturday’s clash at parent club Cardiff City - have made a big impact with Rotherham, who are bottom of the Championship and 14 points adrift of safety.
Ajayi, aged 23, joined in the January transfer window four games ago, and Warne said: “Semi has been ‘ledg’. I hadn’t seen him play a lot, if I’m honest, before his debut against Nottingham Forest. It was a bit of a punt. I spoke to a few people about him.
“When he played at Forest, after five minutes I knew he fitted the bill a treat. He was doing exactly what we wanted him to do. He’s a great lad. He’s really grown into it. He enjoys playing here. Hopefully his future will be with us.
“I would like him here. He’s an ideal fit. He’s a good character, he’s young and athletic. I’ve said from day one, young, fit, hungry players are what I want.”
Adeyemi’s form with the Millers - he has hit four goals in his last eight matches - has been so good that the 25-year-old is likely to attract interest from other second-tier clubs offering lucrative contracts at a time when Rotherham could find themselves back in League One.
“If we have a whip-round, it’s a possibility he could stay!” Warne said. “I would love him to stay and, possibly, he would love to stay. Realistically, I don’t know if it’s a possibility.
“We would do everything, from a club point of view, to facilitate it. But if he keeps scoring from midfield - that kind of player is a dying breed - other teams in the Championship will want him. A midfielder who scores goals is worth even more to a team.
“I know the difficulties that lie ahead, but I can assure you we’ll do everything we can to keep him. At the end of the day, it’s Tom’s decision, because he will have choices.”
Warne is in interim charge until the end of the campaign and could remain in the hot-seat next season if chairman Tony Stewart asks him to.
The Millers are still without skipper and midfield man Lee Frecklington (ankle) and goalkeeper Lewis Price (illness) on Saturday, while Warne described striker Danny Ward’s chances of recovering from a calf injury to play against the Bluebirds as “50:50”.
Winger Jon Taylor should be fit after complaining of soreness after last Tuesday’s match with Huddersfield while right-back Darnell Fisher and central defender Aimen Belaid are back in the squad following hamstring problems.
Ajayi’s place is likely to go to new signing Joel Ekstrand who will be making his Millers debut against a Cardiff team managed by former Rotherham boss Neil Warnock.
Price has been in hospital with sinus issues and tonsilitis but is expected to resume training on Monday.