Hot-shot Anthony Stokes is on Rotherham United’s list of targets, new boss Alan Stubbs has confirmed.
Stokes starred at Hibernian under Stubbs last season and the pair forged a close bond as the Edinburgh club lifted the Scottish FA Cup for the first time in 114 years.
Yet the Millers manager knows he will face stiff competition if he tries to lure the striker south of the border.
“I wouldn’t rule out an interest in Anthony Stokes,” he said. “But we wouldn’t be on our own. There will be a number of clubs interested him, particularly as it’s a free transfer.”
Stokes was tonight released by parent club Celtic.
He scored nine goals in 19 Scottish Championship and FA Cup starts for Hibs last year while on loan, including two in that memorable May 21 final against Rangers.
He played in the Champions League for Celtic, for whom he bagged 76 goals in 185 appearances, but new Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers decided to let the 27-year-old leave as he looks to trim the size of his squad.
The Republic of Ireland international’s successful past association with Stubbs at Easter Road can only help Rotherham’s prospects of landing him.
“I know him from his time at Hibs and at Celtic,” Stubbs said. “Obviously, it doesn’t hurt that I have a good relationship with him.
“I like to have a good relationship with all my players. I talk to them before and after training. I have had a lot of players from Hibs ring or text me to wish me well since I moved to Rotherham.”
Stubbs took over at AESSEAL New York Stadium last Thursday and a day later the Championship Millers parted company with centre-forward Leon Best.
Strengthening Rotherham’s strike options will be one of the new man’s main priorities.
Best had been offered terms by the club before Stubbs’ arrival, and talks are still taking place with four other out-of-contract players who had deals on the table, Kirk Broadfoot, Richard Wood, Stephen Kelly and Matt Derbyshire.
“There are positive negotations with three of those players,” Stubbs said. “We’ll wait and see. I’m quite relaxed about the situation.”
The Millers are in the process of arranging more pre-season friendlies and are also planning to tour somewhere in July.