Rotherham United: Warne goes non-league in striker hunt
Talent-spotting manager Paul Warne is ready to raid non-league in his search for the strikers he believes can fire Rotherham United up the League One table next season.
The Millers will have one of the best budgets in the third tier after being relegated from the Championship this term.
But cash-conscious Warne, who is looking to sign three frontmen, says there are some gems to be found outside of the Football league.
“To be competitive in League One, you need a bit of experience, a bit of solidity, but you also need a bit of flair,” he said.
“I have always said I am not a football snob. My background is non-league. I have to try to spend the budget the best way I can to try to get the most exciting team together.
“There are opportunities to bring players in from the lower leagues. I look at Rochdale. They don’t cherry-pick players from the Championship but they are more than competitive. I watched them live twice and I thought they were an excellent set-up.”
Warne, who started his own playing career with Norfolk side Wroxham FC in the Eastern Counties League before turning professional with Wigan Athletic, watched two potential targets last weekend, in Dublin and London.
The boss says he is happy with the amount of money put at his disposal by chairman Tony Stewart for the 2017/18 campaign.
“We had a meeting a few weeks ago about the budget and what the chairman would like to see from that budget,” he revealed. “I think the budget is really competitive. I have got no issues with it.
“Now we have got to persuade the players to come in. Some will cost fees. You can have a good budget but you have still got to spend it wisely. That is what we are trying to do.
“We are going everywhere to try to watch players and get them in. I am pretty pleased with where we are if we get our targets, but I am also well aware that they could fall by the wayside.”
Warne is expecting answers this week from the out-of-contract Rotherham players who have been offered new deals.
The 44-year-old, keen to begin his summer recruitment this month, wants decisions from centre-half Richard Wood, left-back Joe Mattock and midfielder Richie Smallwood so he can plan accordingly.
An offer has also been made to midfield man Tom Adeyemi after his loan spell at New York Stadium.
The Millers have unveiled a new home strip which drops the yellow trim of this year.