New Rotherham United signing Jamie Proctor heads into tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby boosted by a ringing endorsement from admiring manager Paul Warne.
The centre-forward faces Sheffield United at AESSEAL New Stadium looking for his fifth goal in five pre-season matches and his boss believes he’s a perfect fit for the Millers mould.
“I think everyone can see why I wanted him at the club,” said Warne of his 6ft 2in £75,000 summer capture from Bolton Wanderers.
“He’s a pretty Rotherham-esque striker. He works really hard, he fights, he scraps.”
Proctor struck in the first half of Tuesday night’s 1-0 triumph at Gainsborough Trinity, a match watched by Warne while another Millers 11 were beating Alfreton Town 2-0 on the same evening.
“Jamie deserved his goal and he’s in a good vein of form,” the boss added. “I think he’s going out every game feeling he’s going to score at the moment, which is good.”
Fellow new boy David Ball has done even better, with five goals in four appearances, and Rotherham go into tomorrow’s clash with a 100 per cent win record as they gear up for League One opening day on August 5.
The encounter with the Championship Blades represents a step up in opposition after three matches against non-league sides and two tour games in Austria.
Warne put his squad through their paces on the morning of the Gainsborough and Alfreton outings, but has since toned down his notoriously tough training regime in readiness for tomorrow.
“We’ve been training them hard but we’ll taper it a bit now for Friday’s game,” he said. “It’s about trying to get as much in their legs as possible to try to get them through the season.
“They’ve trained really well and they’re in good fettle. If I ease off them, they’ll have more in the tank for games. But I’m just using the games at the moment as training exercises. The fact they keep winning is a good habit to get into and they’re gaining more and more belief.”
Two other new recruit to impress at Gainsborough were centre-half Michael Ihiekwe, signed from non-league Tranmere Rovers, and Ipswich Town right-back loanee Josh Emmanuel who are already pressing their claims for first-team berths.
“I thought Michael did really well,” Warne said. “He was probably the outstanding defender out there.
“He didn’t do much wrong. He’s comfortable on the ball, he’s got a bit of pace, he won all his headers, so I don’t know what else you’d want from your centre-half. If he could score from a corner, that would have been nice. We must have had 15 corners!
“Josh is strong and positive and he gets up and down, which is what I want. I was really pleased with him.”
The Millers have brought in seven new players and aren’t looking to add Rangers attacker Josh Windass, who has been linked to the club on social media, to that number.
Proctor and Ball have been given the number nine and 10 shirts respectively for next season.
In line with Football League regulations, centre-half Dominic Ball will wear ‘Ball’ on the back of his jersey while forward David’s shirt will display his first and middle initials so his name appears as ‘DM Ball’.
Full squad numbers:
1. Richard O’Donnell
2. Josh Emmanuel
3. Joe Mattock
4. Will Vaulks
5. Semi Ajayi
6. Richard Wood
7. Anthony Forde
8. Lee Frecklington
9. Jamie Proctor
10. David Ball
11. Jon Taylor
12. Lewis Price
14. Dominic Ball
16. Darren Potter
17. Darnell Fisher
18. Ben Purrington
19. Jonson Clarke-Harris
20. Michael Ihiekwe
21. Jerry Yates
22. Joe Newell
23. Ryan Williams
24. Kieffer Moore
26. Aimen Belaid
27. Alex Bray
30. Laurence Bilboe
37. Mason Warren
38. Darnelle Bailey-King
39. Kuda Muskwe
40. Ben Wiles
41. Akeel Francis