Rotherham United: Money will talk, but ‘stalker’ Warne believes Millers can keep Kieffer

Kieffer Moore
Kieffer Moore
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Rotherham United will maintain constant contact with wanted man Kieffer Moore as they look to secure the services of the 13-goal loan striker on a permanent deal.

Moore headed back to parent club Ipswich Town after the Millers had extended their perfect festive League One record with a 2-1 win at Walsall yesterday.

And manager Warne, confirming Rotherham have already submitted a bid to the Tractor Boys, says he won’t leave the prolific hitman alone in his quest to bring him back to AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“I’m hopeful he’ll come back and I’ll keep in touch with him on a daily basis to get updates,” said Warne whose seventh-placed side go in search of a fifth win in six matches when they entertain high-flying Blackburn Rovers tomorrow.

“If Ipswich want to sell him, the usual thing happens and he goes to the highest bidder. Hopefully, we’ll be in and about it.”

Warne knows other clubs will make offers for the 25-year-old but believes the centre-forward’s hugely successful five-month spell in South Yorkshire could work in Rotherham’s favour.

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

“I think him having already been here gives us an advantage,” the boss said. “He’s a bit of a cult hero here. I had him in my office this week and had a chat about it.

“It’s nice to play where you’re loved. You can play for loads of clubs in your career but there are probably only one or two where you feel there is a real affinity with the fans.

“He has that here. I think he feels at home here. I think we’ve got a really good chance. We’ve put a bid in, as will others clubs, I presume.”

The Millers want two new strikers in the January transfer window. They hope Moore will be one of them but have a shortlist of other targets.

“If Mick (Ipswich boss McCarthy) decides he wants to keep him as an Ipswich player or someone from Russia comes in to buy him, then it’s a different ball game,” Warne acknowledged.

Tomorrow’s clash sees midfielder Richie Smallwood back at New York for the first time since his summer switch to Blackburn.

“I won’t get unduly depressed or excited by his return,” Warne said. “Players come and go all the time.

“It would be nice for him if he got a good ovation from the fans. I would prefer it if he got a nice ovation as he came off while we were winning 3-0. He did well for the club while he was here and he’s really popular at Blackburn. He’s an integral part of their success.”

Warne has kept the same starting 11 throughout a festive period which has brought three wins in three outings and will keep the side together again if he can against Rovers.

“After half an hour at Walsall, I turned to Richie (No 2 Barker) and said: ‘The lads look a bit jaded here.’

“The pitch was soft, which didn’t help either team. There will be some very tired legs come Monday, but it’s the same for Blackburn. I might have to rotate a couple. But when you’re winning matches, players just want to play.”

Captain and midfielder Lee Frecklington should be fit for the New Year’s Day showdown despite coming off in the second half at Walsall.

“He was a little bit sore in his calf at half-time,” Warne revealed. “Substituting him was precautionary really.”

Meanwhile, the manager bade an emotional farewell to Moore minutes after the Saddlers game.

“He’ been brilliant for us,” Warne said. “The lads have been telling him to do a speech in the changing room. I’ve just made the big mistake of hugging him. It feels like I’m losing my son.”

Match feature: Kieffer goes, the shirt stays and the points keep coming