Rotherham United’s search for a new manager is approaching its end-game.
Interviews have been held this week and, while an announcement is more likely early next week, the name of club’s next boss could be revealed by the weekend.
Yesterday’s confirmation that Walsall have rejected an approach from a Championhsip club, believed to be Rotherham. to talk to their manager, Dean Smith, has strengthened the hand of the candidates already on the shortlist.
Forner Leeds United boss Neil Redfearn has been a front-runner for the role since Steve Evans departed 10 days ago and The Star understands the 50-year-old is pleased with how his interview went earlier this week.
Former Everton defender Alan Stubbs has been linked with the Millers, but, unlike Redfearn, who has been without a club since leaving Elland Road at the end of last season, he is managing another side, Scottish Championship outfit Hibs.
Rotherham’s interest in Smith, 44, would appear to be over as, under chairman Tony Stewart, they are a club who play by the rules and will abide by the Saddlers’ decision.
The Millers aren’t commenting, but The Star understands any contact with Walsall was a tentative enquiry with the intention of speaking to Smith and adding him to their shortlist, not to definitely offer him the job.
It would seem that if there are to be any further developments, Smith, who is out of contract at the end of the season, would have to try to force Walsall’s hand.
But the former Sheffield Wednesday player has taken his side to second place in League One and is said to be happy where he is.
A Walsall statement said: “The club can confirm it received an approach from a Championship club for permission to speak to Dean Smith. This approach was categorically rejected. As one of the longest-serving managers in the country, Dean has been instrumental in the club’s progress since his appointment and is fundamental to our future plans.”
Meanwhile, Rotherham, who have first-team coach Eric Black in caretaker charge of playing affairs, have been boosted by the return to training of experienced midfielder Paul Green who has recovered from an ankle problem.
Centre-half Farrend Rawson also has a clean bill of health after coming off late on in the Millers’ last match, against Burnley, with cramp.
“Faz has trained fully,” Black said. “A couple of days away has allowed that to settle down.”
But skipper Lee Frecklington is still affected by a calf injury which could see him miss out when the Millers return from the international break a week on Saturday at Brentford.