Caretaker boss Paul Warne is up against “two or three” other candidates as Rotherham United look to appoint their next full-time manager before the end of the season.
The Millers’ relegation from the Championship will be confirmed next month and chairman Tony Stewart wants to give the new man as much time as possible to prepare for the 2017/18 League One campaign.
Rotherham plan to make a major announcement about their future following the two-week international break. It has been scheduled for after the Sheffield Wednesday derby on April 4 and it’s possible, although not guaranteed, the identity of the permanent boss will be revealed then.
“Warney has got to be a candidate,” Stewart told The Star. “He’s got the culture of the club, he’s got the knowledge. He will be competing with two or three others we have in mind.
“What we will do is make a statement about the direction in which we will be moving forward in preparation for next season. The strategy will be revealed.
“Decisions will be made so people aren’t left guessing after the Sheffield Wednesday game. Paul and I will be talking regularly during the international break.”
Warne has been in interim charge for 21 matches, after the disastrous reigns of Kenny Jackett and Alan Stubbs left the club staring the drop in the face well before this season reached its halfway point.
Stewart, who apologised to fans for their suffering this year, would love to see a promotion push next term but says long-term stability and the recruitment of young players ready to commit themselves to the club for several years is the overriding priority.
“We need to appoint a new manager before the end of the season,” he acknowledged. We’re in the run-up to the end of this season. But we’re also in the run-up to the start of next season.
“Any manager needs preparation. Our next manager needs to be doing it very soon. It’s inevitable we are going to go down, but we are not a sinking ship. We’re down, but we’re not out.”
“We will strive to get to the top of that league. I can’t say any different. We feel we will have a side that will compete in League One. But we have to have the patience to develop the young players we intend to bring in.”
Stewart, who says Rotherham’s “revolving door” transfer policy of the past is over, expects to see January’s arrival of Jamie Johnson as head of recruitment pay dividends in the summer.
“Money will be spent more wisely,” he said. “We have a head of recruitment and an assistant recruitment guy and their full-time occupation is making sure we have got athletic, young players.
“The philosophy we have now is that we are looking to get people who are striving to get into the Premier League rather than coming from the Premier League down. We need to be patient.
“I’m very impatient. But, at the end of the day, preparation, preparation, preparation is a good way forward.
“We’re working more cleverly now because we’ve had the experience of what’s good, bad and indifferent. We need to use that knowledge to make sure that we compete next season and get into a position where we’re winning games, creating excitement, getting the fans behind us and getting the belief back in.
“I have to say, I have never lost the belief or drive. Sometimes, there are cycles in life where things don’t go as you would like. The next cycle is in League One, where we will be competing at a level where, I think, whether it takes one or two seasons, we can achieve our objectives.”