Rotherham United exclusive: Unwanted Millers man

Flashback: Ian Sharps in typical combative form against the club he has now joined on loan
Flashback: Ian Sharps in typical combative form against the club he has now joined on loan
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RUGGED centre-half Ian Sharps has expressed his disappointment at departing Rotherham United and confessed: “It is not nice to hear you are not wanted.”

Burton Albion signed the Millers captain last Friday on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent deal.

Sharps, who began his career at Tranmere Rovers, has played 27 times in all competitions for Rotherham this season. But following the club’s shock defeat to Barnet, manager Steve Evans told Sharps he was free to go speak to other clubs.

The 32-year-old has told The Star: “Steve (Evans) doesn’t see me as part of his plans so as soon as I heard that, I didn’t really want to stay and just pick up my money. I wanted to go out and play football.

“It is not nice to hear you are not wanted in football or in life in general but you have to take it on the chin.

“I put a few feelers out and Steve did the same and fortunately Burton came in for me last week and showed a bit of interest.”

Sharps clocked up 193 appearances for his first club Tranmere before moving to Rotherham for his first permanent spell in 2006. He left four years later after their League Two play-off final defeat to Dagenham and Redbridge and headed to Shrewsbury Town. Warrington-born Sharps, who still lives in Shrewsbury, was an influential figure in the Shrews promotion last term. He returned to Rotherham last summer after turning down Shrewsbury’s one-year contract offer.

Sharps has rubbished reports of a fall-out with Evans, saying: “We never had a massive argument or anything like that.

“I have played a lot of games this season but Steve has come to the conclusion that he wanted to go a different direction. That’s what happens in football. You can only play 11 players at the end of the day.

“He thinks he has got better players elsewhere which is his decision.”

Forty eight hours ago, Evans bolstered his defensive options by capturing Jamaican international Claude Davis from Crawley Town but Sharps still believes he has got a future at Rotherham.

“The manager has brought in Claude who is a good player,” said Sharps, contracted to Rotherham until 2014. “They have got Johnny Mullins, Craig Morgan and Kari Arnason who can play at centre-back too so there is plenty of competition for places.

“It will be hard to get in but I have to back my ability, believe in myself, stay positive and see what happens in the summer. I am at Burton until the end of the season so we will see what happens.”

Evans has also denied not seeing eye to eye with Sharps.

“Ian wants to play and he is a fantastic professional,” said the Scot. “I have got nothing but respect for him. We just had an opportunity to sign a player (Claude Davis) who makes us better.”

Since rejoining Rotherham, Sharps accepts he has struggled to hit top form on a consistent basis. He lost his place in the starting line-up after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign in the club’s hard fought victory over AFC Wimbledon in mid-December. He served a one-match ban but had to wait until the Barnet clash to force his way back into Evans first-team set-up.

Sharps said: “I have been a bit up and down like the team. I didn’t start off brilliantly. I was probably playing my best just before my suspension. We kept a couple of clean sheets and were playing well but the suspension just came at the wrong time.

“The lads did well at Notts County in the FA Cup so the gaffer didn’t see fit to change it. When I came back in, we got beat.

“I felt I didn’t too bad at Rotherham but I didn’t do as well as I could have done but that’s not through a lack of effort.

“I don’t think the team has performed to its maximum this season but I have left them in a good position,”

Now Sharps has set his sights on leading Burton to a top-seven finish.

Sharps, set to train with his new teammates for the first time yesterday, said: “We are in seventh place at the moment so I think the play-offs have to be the target. Burton are a good club and I think they have got some very good players.

“If we can keep all the players together, there is every chance we can push on and do well.”

Did you know? Sharps has been named in the PFA’s League Two team of the season for the last three years. He tasted the first promotion of his career at Shrewsbury last season.