Rotherham United: More to come as Millers complete Ben Purrington and Semi Ajayi deals

Ben Purrington
Ben Purrington
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Manager Paul Warne says Rotherham United’s January recruitment is far from over after today’s double swoop by the Millers.

The caretaker boss, having brought in defenders Ben Purrington and Semi Ajayi in the space of a few hours, believes there will be another round of signings on tomorrow’s transfer window deadline day.

Semi Ajayi

Semi Ajayi

“Realistically, I have got another three coming in,” he said. “I need another striker, defender and wide man. I reckon there is one more permanent and two or three loans to come.”

Championship Rotherham, who travel to Nottingham Forest tomorrow night, are prepared to smash their transfer record for League Two’s leading marksman, Omar Bogle of Grimsby Town, but Warne has warned that the club won’t be held to ransom.

“If the chairman (Tony Stewart) asks me if we want to put the offer up, I would say ‘no’. I want value for money for this club,” he said.

“On all the offers we have put in for our targets, we are not budging anymore. We have been more than generous and I respect the chairman for backing us the way he has.”

Omar Bogle

Omar Bogle

The Millers have paid League Two Plymouth Argyle an undisclosed fee to sign 20-year-old left-back Purrington on a three-and-a-half year deal while centre-half Ajayi has joined on loan from Cardiff City until the end of the season.

Former midfield trialist Ryan Taylor, 32, a free agent after leaving League One Port Vale, has been offered a deal by Warne who also admires Reading striker Dominic Samuel but fears the 22-year-old won’t be available.

The interim manager was considering speaking to Rotherham old boy Ryan Taylor, 28, before the Oxford United centre-forward moved to Plymouth today.

Warne describes Purrington as the kind of prospect on which the Millers’ future should be built.

Ex-trialist Ryan Taylor

Ex-trialist Ryan Taylor

“I see young, athletic, enthusiastic kids as the way forward,” he said. “I would prefer to get the better players from the lower leagues who think it’s a privilege to come and play for this great club, which it is.

“They’re keen, they’re want to improve, they want to listen. They’re the sort of people I want to talk to. I don’t want to talk to people who look at me and think I’m a space cadet.

“Loan signings have a purpose, but the future of this club will be built on great permanent signings.”

Purrington, who made 64 appearances for Plymouth, jumped at the chance to move to South Yorkshire even though the Millers, bottom of the second tier, and the Pilgrims, riding high in League Two, could both be in League One next year.

“Plymouth could potentially go up and we could potentially go down, but I think if we do go down we should be a top team in League One,” said Warne.

“The lad might have thought, as I would as a player: ‘Wow, I could be playing at Forest on Tuesday night.’ We’ve given him a longer contract than he had and, I presume, he’s on better money.

“If that was my son and he was playing at Plymouth every week and a Championship club came in, I’d be saying: ‘You’ve got to go to the Championship, Mate.’”

Former Arsenal youngster Ajayi hasn’t played a senior match for the Bluebirds, but he has been on loan at AFC Wimbledon and Crewe Alexandra. Warne spoke to three managers about him and received excellent reports.

The interim manager predicts “one or two” players could leave Rotherham before tomorrrow’s 11pm deadline but expects in-demand top scorer Danny Ward to stay.

“I don’t think he is going to go,” he said. “I spoke to two managers yesterday who said they would sign him in the summer.

“There hasn’t been any movement over the weekend and the later it is, the less chance there will be of him going.”

Rotherham will be missing central defender Aimen Belaid and right-back Darnell Fisher tomorrow. Both have hamstring pulls, with Warne estimating that Belaid will be out for between 10 and 14 days and Fisher between two and three weeks.

Midfield men Joe Newell (groin) and Tom Adeyemi (illness) are in with a chance of playing.

Athersley Rec striker Kai Hancock, 20, has impressed during a training spell with the Millers and Warne wants him link up with the club again for an extended trial next pre-season.

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