Rotherham United: Hunt for defensive additions heads into free agent market

Rotherham United's search for a central defender has moved into the free transfer market after a bid for a third target was rejected.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 4:27 pm
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 5:29 pm
Former Millers target Curtis Tilt

The Millers had already seen bids for Blackpool's Curtis Tilt and Leyton Orient's Marvin Ekpiteta rejected and were waiting for an answer on a third unnamed centre-back, which boss Paul Warne has reported as coming back negative this week.

Warne's options are limited at the back so he is in desperate need of additions and has identified a free agent that he could bring in over the next few days.

“The bid for the third centre-half, that's a 'no'. Our centre-half hunt has hit a brick wall. We've made bids for three players and had three 'nos'.

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“The last one, I found out about it on Wednesday. The player has chosen to go somewhere else. He's going on loan at a higher level. That's a blow.

“We have another target. I have a target I can get on a free. I wasn't aware of his availability at the start of the summer.

“There is a realistic chance of this happening. If it's agreeable with everyone at the club, I don't see why it couldn't be tied up in the next 72 hours.

“People who work at the club will hopefully get it to a position where me and the chairman sit down and say, 'This is what it's going to cost us. Do we agree?'.

“It always takes longer than you think.”

The Millers only have Michael Ihiekwe, Clark Robertson, Richard Wood and youngster Jake Cooper available for the clash against Lincoln.

That League One game would have been an AESSEAL New York Stadium homecoming for double promotion winner Lee Frecklington, but he looks certain to miss the game with a groin injury.

Frecklington spent five years at the club before leaving to join his hometown Imps in 2018.

Warne said of his relationship with the influential manager.

“We were pretty close, we had similar traits. Obviously it became different when I became the manager because your relationships change regrettably.

“You can go from being the most funny, personable person to the a-hole. We were close, he was similar to me in that he gave everything physically and I spent a lot of time with him as fitness coach.

“I would like to think I was pretty close to all of them. I always like the players to come back and get a decent ovation for what they did.

“Semi's (Ajayi) was great, he came back and within 78 seconds he'd given us a penalty so it was a nice gesture. I don't know how Frecks can affect it for us! He should 100 per cent get everyone's respect.”