Chairman Tony Stewart has outlined the kind of players Rotherham United are looking to sign as they prepare for next season in League One.
The Championship’s bottom club are doomed to relegation, with the drop set to be mathematically confirmed early next month, and Stewart says the Millers are already deep into their planning for life at a lower level.
“Meticulous preparation is now going into recruitment,” he told The Star. “What is important now is getting the right player, with the right mentality, the right athleticism, who will fit into the Rotherham United mould.
“We’ve had sides in the past that can compete. But the way forward now is having a 22/23-year-old who is going to stay until he’s 25/26/27.
Previous manager Alan Stubbs was allowed to bring in 13 players last summer, many of whom have struggled in the second tier, while another former boss, Steve Evans, made nearly 90 signings in his three-and-a-half-year reign.
Evans presided over one of the most successful periods in the club’s history, winning promotions from League Two to the Championship, but left when the board decided a more measured transfer policy was required.
“The revolving door has gone,” Stewart said. “We want to get people who are striving to get to the top of the class rather than coming down from the top of the class to a lower league.”
Paul Warne has been in caretaker charge since November and could be named full-time boss when Rotherham announce their next manager after the Sheffield Wednesday derby on April 4.
He has already been working closely with new head of recruitment Jame Johnson on identifying targets for the 2017/18 campaign.
Stewart says the job is between Warne and “two or three” outside candidates.
Rotherham’s owner turned to the fitness coach when Stubbs’ successor, Kenny Jackett, stunned the Millers by quitting after just five games and no wins.
“At the time, I said to Kenny Jackett ‘You’re 54 years of age, you know your mind’, and that was that,” Stewart revealed.
“We had to find a solution and it was agreed that Paul Warne would come in as a temporary manager. That changed the dressing room and the training ground. People were lifted.
“We’ve seen games under Warney where we have given a good account of ourselves. Cardiff and QPR (5-0 and 5-1 away defeats respectively) were rare exceptions.
“We are waiting now for the inevitable. We know we’re destined to go to League One. What we’re now looking at is deciding on the next manager, and we need to be more exacting this time.”
Rotherham return to action after the international break on April 1 at home to Fulham and Warne is looking forward to seeing more of loan striker Carlton Morris who showed up well on his debut off the bench at QPR last Saturday.
“He was sharp,” the interim boss said. “You could see why I wanted him in. He’s got physical presence, he’s a bit of a goal threat and he’s keen to impress.”