Rotherham United: New boy Ajayi shines as Millers miss out on big deadline-day targets

Semi Ajayi
Semi Ajayi
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Manager Paul Warne hailed the debut of Semi Ajayi as Rotherham United’s deadline-day transfer dealing ended in disappointment.

The Millers made only one acquisition and missed out on two big targets in the final hours of the January window.

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

But Warne, in caretaker charge of the Championship’s bottom club, was boosted by the accomplished display of new centre-half Ajayi in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

“I was really pleased with Ajayi,” said Warne of the 23-year-old who has signed on loan from Cardiff City until the end of the season. “I thought he was really good.

“I told him if he played like that, he will have a testimonial at this club! He won his headers, he put it in the channel like I asked him to do.”

Rotherham, 12 points adrift of safety, did decent business in January, bringing in five new players, including goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell and left-back Ben Purrington on long-term deals.

But Tuesday failed to deliver the marquee permanent signing which would have turned the window from reasonable to excellent.

Grimsby Town striker Omar Bogle, for whom the Millers had made a club-record bid, went to Wigan Athletic, while a move to New York Stadium for highly-rated Coventry City defender Jordan Willis broke down when personal terms couldn’t be agreed.

“I have got the support of the chairman, kindly, but it is difficult,” Warne said. “I appreciate our position in the league. If we had 10 points more, it might have been a little bit easier to get a couple over the line. I am happy with the additions we have made.”

Norwich City striker Carlton Morris, 21, joined on loan on deadline day, while Swansea City winger Alex Bray, 21, will also be in South Yorkshire for the rest of the season.

There was Millers interest in Burnley winger Michael Kightly when he suddenly became available late in the window, but the 31-year-old signed a loan deal with Burton Albion.

Another player Rotherham had in their sights, Reading forward Dominic Samuel, 22, opted for a temporary spell at Ipswich Town.

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