Rotherham United: Danny Ward focused on goals, not his Millers future
Hot-shot Danny Ward is refusing to consider his Rotherham United future as he concentrates on the Millers' Championship survival bid.
The in-form striker has hit eight goals in just 15 league matches for the division’s bottom side and is out of contract at the end of the season.
But he has shrugged off speculation that other clubs could make a move for him in the January transfer window and just wants to help lift the Millers off the foot of the table.
“I have to not think about it and not let anything like that bother me,” said the 24-year-old who will be in the team which faces Preston North End at New York Stadium on Saturday.
“I’ve just got to keep everything game by game and make sure I focus on doing my job for the team.”
Ward believes Rotherham are capable of bridging an eight-point gap between them and safety, with Kenny Jackett engineering a big improvement since replacing Alan Stubbs in the hot-seat two matches ago.
“We have the squad to do well in this league but it just hasn’t really clicked yet,” he said. “The last couple of games, it has started to, and I’m sure we’ll start getting some wins.”
Jackett recognises the talent of his frontman, who scored twice in last week’s 2-2 draw at Ipswich Town, and would love to see him remain with the Millers.
“He has a good goal return. He has worked very hard,” the manager said. “I have been impressed with his workrate and his quality. He does look very confident at the moment when the chances come along.
“Whenever someone is doing well, particularly a centre-forward, your are alerting other clubs, just by his form. We want to keep him at Rotherham. He is doing very well for us.”
Ward began the season as a lone striker but has been paired up front with Dexter Blackstock since the managerial change.
“I think he is benefiting as well from having a partner up front,” Jackett said. “We have to make sure we give him enough support to bring out the best of him.
“He is getting lots of chances and he looks like scoring. He has made a good start and, for forwards, that is everything in terms of confidence.
“I have been very pleased with him. He is a Rotherham player and long may it continue.”
Ward, whose previous best goal haul is 10 when he was with Huddersfield, has set himself a target of doubling that figure.
“As a striker, you have to believe you can score goals,” he said. “I’ve not always shown as much as I wanted to show that I can score.
“This season has gone well and I’ve got to keep it going. Every season, I say I want to get to around 20. It’s never happened, but this season has started well and I’m on track for that.
“The main aim is to win the games. If I can get on the scoresheet, it’s a bonus.”
Injured trio Lee Frecklington (ankle), Jon Taylor (knee ligaments) and Greg Halford (calf) were expected to train today, and the Millers are hoping all three will be available for the clash with the 13th-placed Lilywhites.
Tom Adeyemi has resumed training after a calf issue but isn’t in the frame for Saturday, while Kirk Broadfoot is still sidelined with a foot problem and Kelvin Wilson (calf) is around two weeks away from fitness.
New signing Peter Odemwingie has looked sharp in training and Jackett says the attacker is ready to start if required.
Free-agent right-back Jordan Spence, 26, who includes West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons among his former clubs, is still training with Rotherham.
“We have looked at him and we have looked at quite a few in different situations whether that be training with us or speaking to them and meeting the,” Jackett said.
“I have to remain open-minded and see if there is somebody there who can help us. I am looking for players to make a difference. If there is someone similar to Odemwingie then we won’t hesitate to bring them in.”
Dael Fry and Izzy Brown are in the England Under-20s squad which will take part in the Continental Cup in South Korea during the international break.