Rotherham United: Millers narrowing down manager hunt

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart

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Rotherham United will start closing in on their next boss after the weekend.

Chairman Tony Stewart was planning to sift through all the applications yesterday as the club draw up a shortlist of preferred candidates.

And moves to select the successor to Neil Warnock, who left on Wednesday after guiding the Millers to Championship survival during his 16-match reign, will then begin in earnest

“There has been a good uptake of people interested in the job,” said Stewart. “We’ll probably look at people early next week.”

Rotherham have released 11 out-of-contract players and want five others who played a big part in their successful safety campaign to stay.

They will be talking to right-back Stephen Kelly, centre-halves Kirk Broadfoot and Richard Wood, striker/midfielder Matt Derbyshire and frontman Leon Best about new deals.

Stuart Gray

Stuart Gray

Midfielder Paul Green and right-back Frazer Richardson head the list of departures, along with goalkeeper Adam Collin who was a penalty-shootout hero during the club’s Wembley League One Play-off Final win in 2014.

Others who haven’t been retained and are now free to talk to other clubs are keepers Paddy Kenny and Alex Cairns, defenders Danny Collins, Lewis Buxton and Lloyd Doyley, midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma, winger Jerome Thomas and centre-forward Luciano Becchio.

Warnock transformed Rotherham’s fortunes after answering Stewart’s call in February, guiding them through an 11-game unbeaten run to see them seal their safety with nine points to spare.

But the two men were unable to agree on a deal for next season and Warnock, planning one final year before retirement, is now seeking a second-tier outfit offering him the prospect of a record-breaking eighth career promotion.

Stewart said: “We need to look forward now in order to build for the next two or three seasons,”

The Millers owner is looking to appoint a manager who has experience of the Championship and hasn’t ruled out somebody who may already be working at another club.

Rotherham are an attractive proposition and Stewart has been pleased with the standard of applicants.

“Now that we’ve had two seasons in the Championship we’re seeing the calibre of managers applying coming from a higher level,” he revealed.

“It’s quite flattering. There are some big names in there. We’ve had a good response from some high-level managers.”

Among the early bookmakers’ favourites are Stuart Gray, Gary Bowyer, Dougie Freedman and Neil Lennon.

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