Rotherham United: Under-contract players not safe, warns Millers manager Warne

Paul Warne
Paul Warne
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Rotherham United players could be shown the exit door by new boss Paul Warne even if they have deals for next year and beyond.

Warne is building a side for the 2017/18 League One campaign after relegation from the Championship and will show no sentiment as he looks to move the club forward following a season of woe.

“I’m seeing the character and strength of a few,” said the 43-year-old after opening his permanent reign with a 3-2 defeat at Wigan Athletic last Saturday.

“I’m assessing what I’ve got. Even if players are on longer contracts, if they’re not for me next year, then I need to start moving people.”

The former fitness coach, who had been in caretaker charge since November, was confirmed in the hot-seat last Wednesday and is deep into his planning with head of recruitment Jamie Johnson to bring in new blood.

He has already intimated that some members of his squad who are out of contract in the summer won’t be offered fresh terms as he focuses his search on young players with pace and power.

Those whose deals are due to expire include defenders Stephen Kelly, Richard Wood, Kelvin Wilson and Joe Mattock, midfielder Richie Smallwood and striker Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Warne says most of the Millers’ pre-season schedule is already drawn up and is looking to take his men on tour to either Austria or Hungary to make them suffer.

“Austria is my first choice,” he said. “It’s hilly. The players won’t like it. That’s good. If we can’t make the dates fit, then I like Budapest. It’s brutal there.”

He will also spend more than a fortnight in Northern Ireland before the players return to training to complete his coaching qualifications.

“I’m going away this summer to refresh my skill-set,” he said.

“I’ve got to go to Belfast and do my coaching badges for 16 solid days, which is great news for my family holidays! The missus is over the moon, as you can imagine.”

Rotherham are at home to Birmingham City on Good Friday and hope to have midfielders Lee Frecklington and Tom Adeyemi available after calf injuries.