Neil Redfearn’s rebuilding of Rotherham United is about to begin in earnest.
The new Millers boss hopes to have a fresh face in place for tomorrow’s home clash with Ipswich Town, and then the real business of arrivals and exits will gather pace during the international break.
He believes major surgery is required if he is to develop a squad capable of operating in the top half of the Championship.
Rotherham are close to loan deals for a striker and an attacking midfielder from the Premier League, with Redfearn keen to add to his squad ahead of the two-week window which begins after the AESSEAL New York Stadium encounter with the Tractor Boys.
“It would be good to get one in before the weekend because it would give us a lift,” he said. “It would give us something that we need going into the Ipswich game. Other people are looking at them. We’ve got in quite quickly.”
Manchester City and Southampton are the clubs involved in negotiations.
Meanwhile, at least two players with international experience will be training with the Millers after the weekend in a bid to earn contracts.
“Next week we’ve got a couple more coming in. They’re free agents,” Redfearn confirmed.
“They have played at international level and have played Championship football. They are experienced players. They’re without clubs at the moment.
“We’ve got two, maybe three, and we’re going to try to get them in and have a look at them early next week with a view to doing something with them over the international break with regards to playing a behind-closed-doors game, making a decision on them and hopefully coming to a positive agreement.”
To make room for signings, the manager is ready to let players who aren’t part of his plans leave on loan. He has informed the ones affected of his decision and their names are being circulated to other clubs.
“I don’t have to get players out because of the money situation. That’s not the case,” he said. “I want to get players out because they’re not going to feature. It’s only going to go stale if they’re hanging around the club and they’ve got no clear sight of the first team.
“I want to get better players. This is a squad I’ve inherited. When a new manager comes in, he tries to put his own stamp on it.”
Rotherham are at the foot of the table, and Redfearn added: “We’ve got different strategies here. We’ve got a short-term strategy where we’re trying to get players in and get players out so we can get some points on the board now.
“The bigger picture is to have a more balanced squad that can go and compete in this division. That will be addressed in January and perhaps at the end of the season. We’re in this position now where we’re in flux, where we’ve got to change.
Click here for more Millers news“It’s not ideal because we’re more than a quarter of the way through the season, but it’s what I’ve been left with. It’s up to me to wade in and sort it out.
“We have the technical board meetings every week, and this vision is shared. It’s something we’re all buying into and pushing and driving forward.”
Former Premier League striker Leon Best, another free agent, has impressed while training with the Millers this week and Redfearn is ready to offer the 29-year-old forward a deal if he looks capable of returning to the level which once persuaded Newcastle United to sign him.
Striker Matt Derbyshire hopes to available for tomorrow’s match now an injection has eased his knee injury, while skipper Lee Frecklington could possibly make the bench after returning to full training after a calf complaint.
Ipswich head north in 10th place, and Redfearn wants to see more attacking threat from his side against Mick McCarthy’s men.
“We’ve got to do more going forward,” he said. “We’ve got to take the mental toughness we showed in the Middlesbrough game (1-0 defeat on Tuesday), the same tempo and aggression, and we’ve got to pass it when we get chance. We’ve got to give the lads that backing to go and be positive and create.
“The bottom line is, we’re at home and we’ve got to make the running. It’s a great opportunity to put some points on the board and start moving the other way,”
Trialist Adam Drury, 22, a product of Manchester City’s academy, has been allowed to join non-league Gainsborough for game-time, but the Millers retain their interest in him.
“Whether we take up the option on Adam remains to be seen,” Redfearn said, “He’s here on trial. It’s not a done deal by a long stretch. He’s been a top young player and he’s lost his way for whatever reason.
“It would be churlish of us to not to look at the boy and keep turning these stones over because sometimes you can unearth something that’s really worth keeping.”