Rotherham United: Ball up for Moore challenge
In-form striker David Ball is confident he can fill the Rotherham United void left by the departure of top scorer Kieffer Moore.
Moore, who scored 13 times in a loan spell for the League One Millers earlier this season, was recalled by parent club Ipswich Town earlier this month and yesterday joined Championship Barnsley.
Summer signing Ball, with six goals to his credit in his last eight outings, is relishing the chance to be the main man at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
“You’ve got to revel in that kind of challenge,” said the 28-year-old after Moore had returned to Portman Road but before the 6ft 5in hitman’s switch to Oakwell. “You’re brought in to score goals.”
Ball, who hit the target on 14 occasions for Fleetwood Town last season has come good after a frustrating start to his New York career when he was sidelined by injuries and the form of Moore in a lone-striker role.
He has formed a productive partnership with Jerry Yates in a run since early December which has seen Paul Warne’s men win four and draw two of their last six matches to climb to seventh place in the table.
“I just wanted a run in the side because I know that this side will create chances,” Ball said. “I wanted to be a big part of the team. I’m just happy now to be injury-free, getting games and enjoying my football.”
The attacker, who hit the winner at Walsall on December 30 and grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser against Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Day, stepped up when Moore was sent off on December 2 at Bristol Rovers.
Moore was banned for the next three matches and was unable to force his way into the starting 11 when he returned for the final two games of 2017 before his Ipswich recall.
“The lads around me have been fantastic,” Ball, a scorer in his last three appearances, said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be getting the goals I’m getting.”
Warne, looking to add to his frontline options during the January transfer window, said: “Bally and Kieffer are complete opposites. Bally, technically and footballing-wise, is superior to most. It’s good for him to keep scoring. His work ethic is unbelievable.”
Moore posted on Twitter: “I’d like to thank the Rotherham United manager, staff, players and fans for the unbelievable opportunity and support they gave me from the summer through to January. I wish them all the best for the rest of the season.”
The Millers travel to Oldham Athletic on Saturday when they will come up against old boy Ben Pringle who has joined the Latics on loan from Preston North End.
Back-up goalkeeper Lewis Price was given a run-out in the reserves’ 2-0 defeat at Hartlepool United today and could be on the bench at Oldham after the sale of Richard O’Donnell to Northampton Town.
O’Donnell, who lost his first-team place to Marek Rodak, said of his move: “I wasn’t looking for it. It felt like I would get back into the Rotherham team really. But the manager here (Northampton) went and pulled out all the stops to get me and that stuck in my mind.
“He wants to move the club forward and made me want to be a part of it. It was just a phone call. I spoke to the manager and I was impressed with what he had to say.”