Rotherham United: Ihiek-xit! Paul Warne compares getting contract sorted for defender with Brexit battle
Rotherham United boss Paul Warne has likened getting defender Michael Ihiekwe to sign a new deal to Brexit.
Ihiekwe was offered a new contract several weeks ago, along with Joe Mattock, and Warne hoped the matter would be signed and sealed by this weekend.
However, Ihiekwe is yet to agree and his agent came back to the club this week asking for an extension to the deadline set out by the Millers.
But Warne is more optimistic of getting Ihiekwe to sign than Boris Johnson may be with getting his latest Brexit deal through parliament.
“Icky is a bit like Brexit” Warne said. “His agent has asked for an extension.
“We've got an issue with the backstop. We're trying to iron that out this week.
“I think Icky is quite keen to stay. We've offered him a really good deal. I don't foresee a problem.
“If there is a problem, I don't think it is rectifiable. We've gone as far as we can.”
The centre-half has been a key player for the Millers in 2019 and Warne wants him to be part of the long-term future at the club.
However, he knows the player is the one who holds the power.
“If Icky decides with his agent that he'd rather explore other avenues, then that's his prerogative,” Warne added.
“I want to build a team and a squad for the next few years and I think he can be a part of it. “It's not my style to force or blackmail anyone into staying. If he doesn't want to sign, that's up to him.”
Although Mattock has not yet put pen to paper on his deal, Warne thinks that is effectively greed and just waiting to be signed.
“Joe, I'm led to believe, has agreed to stay so that's good,” the boss added.
“Joe has been at the club for a few years and has been a really consistent performer. We like him. We're glad it's been done early on the season.”
Mattock should be fit for Saturday's visit of Oxford after he pulled out of last weekend's win at Blackpool with a thigh injury.
Matt Crooks came off in that win with an ankle knock, but he is fine to return, though the Millers will assess striker Freddie Ladapo's hamstring injuries.