George Hirst is just one a number of strikers being targeted by Rotherham United, manager Paul Warne has revealed.
The Millers would like to take the 18-year-old Sheffield Wednesday starlet on a season-long loan deal, and the Owls would be happy to see their young asset move to AESSEAL New York Stadium once he has signed a new long-term deal at Hillsborough.
But Warne, who says a centre-half could join Rotherham by the weekend, is also pursuing other options up front as he looks to add to his League One squad before the close of the summer transfer window in two weeks.
“There are a few strikers I’m after,” he said, “I just don’t think you can have enough strikers. The best teams in the country carry loads of strikers.
“Strikers are the best players to put on as subs, in my opinion, and strikers are the ones that get fans off their seats. If I can collect a group that can score goals for fun, that’s what I want to do.”
The Millers manager’s top priorities are a scorer and a defender, but he already has five frontmen in Jamie Proctor, David Ball, Kieffer Moore, Jerry Yates and Jonson Clarke-Harris and says that, despite his love of attackers, there is no pressing need to add to that number.
“My squad is pretty healthy,” he said. “If I could bring in one defender and one striker, I would. I don’t necessarily need another striker. It’s more of a luxury. I don’t think you need heated leather seats in a car, but they are quite nice!
“I’m not, like, scouring the country for a striker. It might be that I could get one in the January transfer window, if I’m still here. I’m not obsessed with the hunt, put it that way.
Rotherham are one of a number of clubs monitoring Hirst’s situation and Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal has said the youngster would “be in good hands” under Warne. However, there is little prospect of the teenager leaving until his contract issue is resolved.
Warne said of the England youth international who has been a prolific marksman at reserve and youth-team level: “I like the fact he can score! He’s mobile and he just wants to play football. I’ve had him watched a few times and the reports have come back really good.
“If he played with one of my targetmen, off the shoulder, he would score a lot of goals.
Rotherham, having smashed Southend United 5-0 last weekend, travel to Peterborough United on Saturday when they will be without Yates who faces a fortnight on the sidelines with a foot injury picked up in the midweek 1-1 Checkatrade Trophy home draw against Manchester City Under-21s.
Hirst was at the City game, but not at the invitation of Warne who added: “I’m no closer to signing him than I was three months ago.”
If Warne does land another hitman, there will be no pressure put on any of his exisiting strikeforce to leave.
“If the chairman permits me to bring another striker in and the other five are happy to compete, then great,” Warne said. “Competition is a great thing.
“They’d all push each other on in training trying to get in the team and squad. I wouldn’t go to the player who was maybe fifth in line and say: ‘See you later.’
“If it’s within my budget, I’m entitled to keep them. And if they want to compete, it makes my life easy.”
Meanwhile, Carvalhal said: “I talked with George last season and told him the best way to move forward this season was to play in League One or League Two and play often.
“The moment he signs a new contract will be the moment we find him a club to play for. That is a process.
“It’s absolutely open. I know Rotherham are interested in him but a lot of clubs are. I know the coach at Rotherham. If he goes there, I would be happy.
“I would be happy for him to go there because I know the coach and George would be in good hands.”
Warne ruled out a New York return for former Millers loan centre-half Faz Rawson. “No, that won’t happen,” he said.
Former Hartlepool goalkeeper Scott Flinders, who is from Rotherham, is training with the Millers, but only to work on his fitness.