Rotherham United old boy Ben Pringle could be a summer transfer target for new Millers manager Paul Warne.
Warne, named permanent boss yesterday, refused to rule out a move for the 27-year-old who joined Preston North End on a three-year deal last July but hasn’t featured for the Lilywhites since December.
The pair are good friends from their time together as player and fitness coach when Rotherham won successive promotions to League One and the Championship and Pringle was named in the 2014 League One Team of the Year. Warne also named the left midfielder in his best ever Millers 11 earlier this season.
“I could possibly be interested,” Warne told The Star. “I’ve made a joke in the past that Pringle is my footballing son, and he did text me yesterday saying ‘How much can you give me?’ with loads of laughing faces. “I texted him back ‘Not enough’.
Warne wants to make “seven or eight” signings and he added: “I’ve got a lot of relationships with a lot of people. I’ve kept in touch with virtually everyone who has played for us and then left. If I think they can come back and do exactly what I want, then I’d welcome them back.
“I’m not saying Ben Pringle is top of my shopping list, but I wouldn’t rule him out, of course I wouldn’t.”
Rotherham, who travel to Wigan Athletic on Saturday, are bound for League One after their Championship relegation was confirmed last weekend, and Warne is already deep into his recruitment planning for next season.
The 43-year-old, who could appoint a new No 2 in the next 24 hours, met a potential new signing yesterday and has more meetings in the pipeline.
“I’m meeting one the first week in May because he wants the season to end and he has a lot of options. I’m meeting another one next week,” he revealed.
“Two players I am trying to sign, I have spoken to them on the phone and sold the club to them. The feedback from the agent was that they are really keen to sign. I’m texting them all the time.
“Anyone I want to sign, I want to go and meet. For example, the lad the other day ... I liked him. I like the way he plays, everything about him.
“He walked in with a bottle of water. This might sound stupid, but I’m all about body language and habits and stuff like that. He then ordered green tea instead of some double-milk cappuccino. Not many people order green tea under the age of 30, believe you me.
“Then, in the two-and-a-half-hour meeting he didn’t touch his phone once. That’s why I want to meet them. I want people who are committed to what we are trying to do, and I think those personality traits are crucial.
“It’s essential to me to meet them. I don’t want anyone coming through the gates and then having regrets. I look them in the eye, and I say: ‘This is how pre-season is going to go, you’ll be training three times a day most probably, you’ll be feeling sick most nights, but that’s the way it’s going to be.’ I want to get a psychological strength in the side which comes through physical pain. That’s just the way it is.”
Warne wants to move quickly on recruitment and believes his hand has been strengthened by becoming full-time boss after 23 matches in caretaker charge.
“The good thing about me becoming permanent manager is that getting players in is potentially easier,” he said. “I can tell them how I want to play and what I expect of them, how I want them to live.
“If they get that from a caretaker manager, it’s not the same. They know in three weeks’ time it could be a different manager with a whole new ethos.
“There is a real dearth of goals in the team, so new strikers are at the forefront of my planning. There is a small pool of players everyone is looking at. You have to be the first to the party and the best dressed.”