Rotherham United: Millers boss Warne reveals the strikers he does and doesn’t want

David Ball joins the Millers
David Ball joins the Millers
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Rotherham United boss Paul Warne followed up the signing of striker David Ball by declaring Wembley hot-shot Christian Doidge is another frontman on his wanted list.

Warne, who also confirmed his interest in Bolton Wanderers centre-forward Jamie Proctor, revealed that the Millers had had a bid rejected for Doidge, a scorer in last season’s National League Play-off Final in London as his club, Forest Green, earned their place in the Football League.

Christian Doidge

Christian Doidge

Ruling out moves for Rotherham old boy Chris O’Grady, Dagenham and Redbridge’s Oliver Hawkins and Tranmere Rovers’ James Norwood, Warne said the Millers remained keen on the 24-year-old who scored 27 goals in non-league last term.

“Yeah, I like him. I’ve said since day one I like him,” he told The Star. “We put an offer in for him which got turned down. We’re still in the process of deciding our next move.

“It was unlucky for me because we’ve liked him since Christmas and then me and Hammy (coach Matt Hamshaw) went on watch him in the play-off final. He had a great game as a No 9 and scored a great goal and they got promoted.

“I left Wembley that day pretty dejected because I thought it would be a lot harder getting a player out of a promoted team in League Two, and they’re not a poor League Two team either. I do like him, but I don’t know which way it is going to go. We’re still pursuing it.”

Jamie Proctor

Jamie Proctor

Ball’s move was finally made official today and, ideally, Warne would like to add two more strikers and a right-back to squad before they kick off their League One campaign.

Rotherham have made contact with Bolton over Proctor, 25.

“I am interested in him. I do like him,” Warne said. “I like an out and out ‘9’, someone who can hold up the ball. He’s athletic, and he brings other players into the game.

“In my team, with the midfield I’ve got, I think he would get a lot of chances to score. He is one on my list to try to get.

Chris O'Grady

Chris O'Grady

“He’s not the only one on there. I’d like to think I’d get another striker in within the next few days. I honestly think I should have another striker in before the lads return for pre-season.

His response to a question about wanting O’Grady was a flat “no”, and on Hawkins he said: “He’s not coming here. I went and watched him a couple of times. He’s a big targetman.

“I didn’t dislike him, but I never made a proper attempt to get him. He was in my mind as opposed to being a real target.”

Warne - who expects last season’s leading scorer, Danny Ward, to join Cardiff City in the next few days - welcomed Ball, 27, to New York Stadium as the Millers beat several other clubs to his signature after his decision to leave Fleetwood Town.

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

“He’s just got a bit of footballing guile that we need. He’s at a good age. He’s fit. He’s committed. He’s a really good pro,” the manager said.

“He played a lot of games last season and got quite a few goals. He can play a number of positions, although, if I’m honest, I’ve signed him as a ‘10’.

“He wants to improve, which is good. He wants his career to kick on. Enthusiastic lads like that are the kind I want here. Some signings you take a little bit of a gamble with, but I don’t think Bally is a gamble at all. He’ll hit the ground running.”

Ball scored 14 times last year as Fleetwood reached the League One play-offs and is also known for his number of assists.

“We need to score 70 goals or more to have a good season,” Warne added. “If Bally can play in an attacking team and get 15 goals, that’s 15 less I have to find.

“But there’s more to him than that. He can take the ball in tight areas. He’s hard-working, which is crucial to the DNA of this football club. He’s a good footballer. There’s a lot more to him than just goals.

“He was always a priority target, but I was a bit fearful because he obviously had a good season at Fleetwood and thought he might sign a new deal there. He had a few options, so I’m really pleased he decided to sign here.”

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