ROTHERHAM United are a striker away from turning into credible promotion candidates.
That is the verdict of former Millers player and manager Ronnie Moore on the eve of the new League Two campaign.
Having terminated Tom Pope’s contract earlier this week, Moore reckons Rotherham have got to get a new 6ft plus striker on board to challenge at the top end of the division.
Speaking exclusively to The Star, Moore said: “I would like to think Rotherham will be there or thereabouts. It is a wide open division. They are 16/1 with the bookies and that is a good price.
“Andy (Scott) is renowned for playing the long ball so it will be interesting to see how they play. I don’t think you can play long ball if you haven’t got a targetman who can flick things on and got a bit of pace.
“They have got the pace of Lewis Grabban and Chris Holroyd but they are lightweight up front. I think they are a little bit short in the attacking third. But, with Tom Pope going, it might free up a few quid for Andy to go and invest in another striker.
“Looking at the team, I think defensively they will be very hard to beat. But at this level, you need someone who is going to be a targetman who will take the weight off Alf (Adam Le Fondre).
“I’m not telling Andy how to do his job but if I was in that position I would be looking for someone to lead the line with a bit of height and power to help the other players in the team. You get the best out of Alf when he plays alongside a big targetman.”
Scott is pondering a move for Huddersfield Town’s out-of-favour striker Robbie Simpson but has indicated it could be a loan move over a permanent transfer.
“Robbie is a good player,” said Moore, who is working as a scout for Notts County. “He is someone I inquired about. I think it would be good business for them to get Popey out and Robbie in.
“I saw a lot of Popey at Crewe and he has just not produced what he is capable of for Rotherham. That is the sad thing. He is home now so just watch him go.”
Including Pope, Scott has shown the door to nine players but the ex-Brentford chief has brought in eight new additions. Some of the recruits he has assembled; Conrad Logan, Troy Brown, Ben Pringle and Danny Schofield, have plied their trade in the Championship.
Moore said: “They have made some good signings.
“I like the signing of Ben Pringle. I tried to get him on loan. He is a good player with a great left foot.
“You have got to be able to pass and use the width with Danny Schofield or he will end up pulling his hair out. He is one of them who demands the ball and you have to get him on the ball.
“I think Gareth Evans is a good signing. Every team needs an Evans. He doesn’t give defenders a minutes’s peace. He is a bit like Paul Warne. His work rate is infectious. I think the crowd will like him because of that.”
“I DON’T think you can look past Crawley winning the league.
“The chairman has invested a lot of money into the side and they got promoted last year. They also got Manchester United in the cup run so it effectively cost them nothing to get promoted. Nobody can compete with them financially.
“Apart from Crawley, I think there must be another 15 teams who believe they have got a chance of going up.”
“I QUITE fancy Oxford this year. They have established themselves now. I know Chris Wilder really well and I think they have got half a shout. They have got good players and it will be a test for Rotherham on Saturday.
“Shrewsbury will be up there and I think all the teams who have come down have got a great chance of going back up.
“It is a nightmare trying to get out of League Two. I think there will be an awful lot of teams beating each other.”
“IT IS a clever move by the chairman to bring in Paolo Di Canio as boss. It is his first job so he will want to do well. I don’t think they will be far off.
“Paolo will want to play attractive stuff but I’m not too sure you can play too much football to get out of that league.
“It will be interesting to see how things go when they have one or two bad patches. Will he stick to his principles and try to get the ball down and play or will he have a plan B?”