Rotherham United: Chris Dawson in as Millers boss tips new Grant Ward deal
Neil Redfearn signed one player for Rotherham United with an eye on next season and then pronounced his confidence in keeping hold of another for the rest of this campaign.
The Millers boss yesterday made former Leeds youngster Chris Dawson his seventh capture of the January transfer window.
And he believes the club will apply the finishing touches to another loan deal for Tottenham Hotspur’s Grant Ward when the midfielder’s present spell ends after tomorrow’s Championship clash with Charlton Athletic.
Redfearn, who played Dawson in the first team three times when he was in charge at Leeds United last season, said of the 21-year-old attacker freed by the West Yorkshire giants: “He has got everything going for him as a player. As I build here and make it better, this guy will be part of it.
“The thing we have got to think about is the bigger picture. We have got to plan, get strength in depth and have competiton for places. We must have young players coming through, and obviously Chris fits into that category.”
Redfearn says there is already an agreement in place with Spurs for the Millers to hang on to midfielder Ward until the end of the season and that only the finishing touches need applying to the deal.
“Grant is getting what he wants, which is game-time,” Redfearn said. “I think Spurs have realised he’s in a good place.
“We work with him a lot. There’s a lot of scope with him. He has more strings to his bow than many young players. He’s really finding his feet. He can play centrally, wide right, off the front, in the hole.
The Rotherham boss said Ward’s present stay “crossed borders between it being a normal loan and a youth loan so it had to be done in a certain way to get it to January”.
He added: “There is an agreement after that. It’s just about fine-lining the agreement and getting hold of the relevant people. Spurs have been good with us. The sooner we can sort it out, the more settled Grant can be.”
The Millers may add another midfield to their squad before Monday’s 11pm deadline but, even if nothing materialises, Redfearn is happy with the business he has done after bringing in Dawson, Shaw Facey, Luciano Becchio, Aimen Belaid, Alex Cairns, Chris Burke and Andrew Shinnie.
Dawson will a major figure in the development group Redfearn is putting together and will immediately join the first-team set-up.
“He is an exceptionally talented young player and, on his day, he can unlock defences,” Redfearn said. “He plays ‘10’, off the front and wide. The thing with Chris, and what has gone against him in recent times, is his size. He’s 5ft 6in. But he’s a player who has real tenacity, strength and mobility and a low sense of gravity to deal with possession. He’s a real plus for us. This kid is a top player.”
Dawson has signed an initial 18-month contract and Rotherham have the option of an extra year.
“My duty of care for this football club is that it is in a better position for the future,” Redfearn said. “This is part of my remit. I want this club to be in a really strong position to go on and be successful at this level. To do that takes time, planning and a strategy to go forward. This is the start of that strategy - adding these young players and working with them.”
Meanwhile, Charlton’s proposed loan signing of West Ham wonder-kid Reece Oxford, who played for the Hammers this season in a 2-0 Premier League win over Arsenal, last night appeared to have fallen through.
Redfearn is aware of the importance to 21st-placed Rotherham’s survival bid of seeing off opponents struggling in the drop zone, but warned: “If we beat Charlton and lose all our other games, we’ll be relegated.”
Skipper Lee Frecklington is likely to miss out tomorrow but is close to a return from his hamstring injury, while centre-half Belaid is having a fitness test today on a groin complaint and is rated as 50:50.
Redfearn has spoken to someone working at another club about the possibility of them coming to Rotherham as his No 2 in place of Eric Black who left for Aston Villa this week.