Rotherham United: Millers boss Warne’s helping hand for Ball

David Ball in action against Chesterfield
David Ball in action against Chesterfield
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Boss Paul Warne defied medical advice to help striker David Ball overcome his Rotherham United injury frustration.

The Millers manager initially said the centre-forward wouldn’t feature in Tuesday night’s Checkatrade trophy clash with Chesterfield after being laid low by a hamstring issue.

Akeem Hinds gets in a tackle

Akeem Hinds gets in a tackle

But Warne decided to give Ball some game-time because the summer signing is desperate to put a stuttering start to his Rotherham career behind him.

“Fifty per cent of my physios said not to play Bally,” Warne admitted. “But I appreciate his season has been really stop-start.

“I just felt that for him, mentally, to be on the pitch is a good thing. It was probably a couple of days too early and I told him not to take any unecessary risks and not to run around the pitch like a complete lunatic.”

Ball, who scored 14 goals for Fleetwood Town last season, has suffered an injury-hit beginning to his time in South Yorkshire and has made only three starts for his new club.

Mark Burton is welcomed to the Millers by academy manager Garreth Barker

Mark Burton is welcomed to the Millers by academy manager Garreth Barker

But he is set to included in the squad for Saturday’s League One visit to Rochdale after impressing in the 2-1 home defeat against the Spireites when he came on as a 65th-minute substitute along with midfielder Joe Newell.

“You can see why I want him on the pitch,” Warne added. “He’s a really tidy footballer. He made a difference with Joe when they both went on.”

The loss left the Millers bottom of their four-team Checkatrade Trophy group, but encouraging debuts from academy prospects Akeem Hinds and Ben Wiles meant the evening had its plus points.

Pacy 17-year-old left-back Hinds played the entire game while central midfielder Wiles, 18, was a half-time replacement for Richie Towell.

“I thought young Akeem did really well,” Warne said. “Over the 90 minutes, he was probably our best player. He’s one to look out for.

“Ben is pretty fit. He’s mobile. He understands the game. He’s got an intelligent head on his shoulders. I thought he played really well.”

Meanwhile, Rotherham have strengthened their academy staff by bringing in the man who helped put John Stones on the path to England recognition.

Mark Burton, who worked with Manchester City centre-half Stones when the pair were together at Barnsley, has been appointed head of academy coaching.

He also played a part in the Oakwell development of Mason Holgate, now with Everton, and James Bree, who left the Reds for Aston Villa.

Millers academy manager Garreth Barker said: “We’re thrilled to be adding somebody with Mark’s credentials to our youth set-up

“We had a number of impressive candidates apply for the job but Mark really stood out, and his CV speaks for itself.”

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