Ambitious Steve Evans believes making a good start to next season is the key to persuading chairman Tony Stewart to fund extra Rotherham United recruitment.
Boss Evans is already meeting with summer targets and could make his first signing next week, with the club aiming to bring in around seven players before the start of the next Championship season on August 8.
And the manager is confident that the man he speaks to daily will put his hand in his pocket again around Christmas if the Millers are doing well.
“We’ll try to have a squad in place as best we can to make sure we’re quite genuinely a midtable team looking up,” he said.
“I think we can be a midtable team that, come the turn of the year, can be having a little bit of a look towards the top.
“I think if we doing that our chairman will say ‘yes’ to further investment.
Evans and Stewart enjoy a close relationship, and the chairman has already sanctioned pre-season moves for players identified by the manager and his backroom team.
But Evans is quick to stress that money doesn’t always guarantee success.
“As some clubs have proved, it’s not all about who pays the most,” he said.
“If it was all about who pays the most in the Championship, it would be the teams who come from the Premiership down, those who have huge, huge parachute payments, who would go back up.
“We have a strategy here that the chairman puts in place. We’ll never under-spend. We can moan about not having the big budget, but we’ll never under-spend here. We try to get value for money, and we’ll try to do that over the summer.”
Evans has a bigger transfer budget than 12 months ago, but there will be fewer signings than last year when the Millers were fresh to the second tier after promotion from League One.
Rotherham stayed up by a margin of five points, and lessons were learned along the way.
Stewart said: “You can’t spend a season in the Championship and have blinkers on. You’re looking at the calibre of the teams and what you have to do to match and beat these teams. We’ll be looking to improve in areas where the manager thinks we need to make the difference from last season to this.”
Meanwhile, Ben Pringle has revealed he and Evans have parted on good terms.
The midfielder who turned down a new deal for a fresh challenge elsewhere said: “I texted him when it kind of got finalised and we both agreed that it was best for me to go. It was ‘all the best, thanks for everything you’ve done’ sort of thing, and it was the same from me. There are no hard feelings.”
The club had hoped to announce this week whether they would be extending AESSEAL New York Stadium but the decision has been delayed to allow for more meetings with their architect.