Rotherham United: Millers frustration as signing delayed

Danny Ward
Danny Ward

Rotherham United have been thwarted at the last minute in their quest to bring in a new player before Saturday’s Championship showdown with Norwich City.

Caretaker manager Paul Warne was confident a signing would be made before the New York Stadium clash against the Canaries, with the potential recruit due in South Yorkshire today.

But the parent side decided to delay the deal.

“I thought I would have had a signing in today,” Warne said. “We had a medical booked for a player.

“It’s not so much that it’s fallen through - the player still wants to come - but the club where he’s at can’t let him come before this weekend. That’s disappointing.

“I would have liked to have got a signing in before the home game. There are three or four really serious targets who I am speaking to.”

The Millers, who are interested in Leeds United midfielder Toumani Diagouraga, say there have been no new bids for star striker Danny Ward.

Ward is being coveted by a host of second-tier clubs in the January transfer window, but Rotherham want him to stay for their fight against relegation.

“I met the chairman (Tony Stewart) and his opinion stays the same - the club don’t need the money and they don’t have to sell if they don’t want to sell,” Warne said. “Unless the money is really good, we are not going to sell.”

One bid has already been rejected. When The Star asked Warne about fresh ones, he said: “No, none that I’ve been told about, and I wouldn’t think they (the club) would lie to me.

“As of this time, 2.45pm on Thursday, I’ve been told of no other bids.”

Ten-goal Ward, who has been playing with a broken wrist since a fall at Fulham before Christmas, is out of contract at the end of the season and Warne wants him to wait until then before sealing a move away from New York Stadium.

With the Millers thought to have an option to extend the centre-forward’s deal by a further 12 months, they could still demand a large fee for his services then.

“I’ve spoken to him,” said the interim boss who leads the Millers against home-town club Norwich City on Saturday. “I said: ‘I don’t need to sell you and won’t sell you if I don’t think it’s right for the club.’

“I don’t want to stand in the way of anyone’s move and understand football and the finance and that he would be doing it for his family.

“He has been excellent and I am sure his attitude will continue like that. If the move doesn’t happen until this summer, I don’t think it will change his life, to be honest.”

Ward has featured in every match this season and has intimated he is happy to remain at New York.

Warne, who bid farewell to Cardiff-City-bound goalkeeper coach Andy Dibble today and replaced him with former Rotherham shot-stopper Mike Pollitt, expects Scott Allan to depart.

The midfielder is on loan with the Millers and parent side Celtic have shown no inclination to take him back, but Warne said: “The situation is that his agent is trying to get him a club.

“I don’t think Celtic are pulling him back to be part of their plans, so it’s more about his agent and himself trying to get somewhere else to play. Funnily enough, I had a text from a manager about him today. I presume he will get himself fixed up soon.”