Rotherham United: Warne likes what he sees from new Millers strikers

Paul Warne works with Kieffer Moore in Austria
Paul Warne works with Kieffer Moore in Austria

Manager Paul Warne saluted his in-form strikeforce as Rotherham United gear up for the final match of their tour to Austria.

The Millers play Hungarian side Soproni VSE tomorrow before heading back to England, with all of their new attackers already among the goals.

Jonson Clarke-Harris

Jonson Clarke-Harris

David Ball has three in two games, Jamie Proctor has scored twice and Kieffer Moore marked his debut in Tuesday’s 7-1 romp against Floridsdorfer AC with a brace.

Jonson Clarke-Harris also opened his pre-season account in that match and young striker Jerry Yates is back in action after a groin problem, leaving Warne delighted with his options up front.

“Kieffer has settled in really well. The lads like him. He’s a good kid,” the boss said. “I keep going on that I don’t want players with egos. He’s happy to fight for his place.

“It’s been great for him - like it has for all the strikers, really - that he’s come in and scored. It was nice that he came in on Tuesday, played really well in that game, showed the lads what he can do and scored twice. You get instant respect from your peers by doing that.

A first hill run for Josh Emmanuel

A first hill run for Josh Emmanuel

“We had him and Bally on the pitch and they were excellent. Then we had Jono, Proctor and Yatesy behind us who we could throw on. Proctor was probably the best player on the pitch when he went on. Jono got a goal. Yatesy’s back training. I couldn’t be happier with the frontmen.”

Warne, who has worked his squad hard on the eight-day trip, could hand a first outing to his seventh summer signing, right-back Josh Emmanuel, in tomorrow’s Soproni encounter.

The 19-year-old has flown out to link up with his new teammates and has already taken part in the notorious early-morning hill running which has got progressively harder through the week.

Warne, who has been impressed by the attitude of all his players, should have Semi Ajayi available tomorrow after a sore back but will take no risks with the centre-half.

Ryan Williams (sickness), Jon Taylor (hip), Anthony Forde (quad) and Joe Newell (chest infection) are all set to play as the boss rotates his squad.

Newell saw a doctor on Thursday as a precaution.

Central defender Aimen Belaid hasn’t travelled to Austria and could be the next player to leave the club.

‘MAKE THEM, DON’T BREAK THEM’

Warne gave The Star an insight into how his players are being tested to the limit.

“The camp has gone really well. The lads are really close,” he said. “I haven’t had players coming up to me and asking for a night out or if they’re getting time off. They’ve just got on with it. That was the approach we tried to install in them before we came out here.

“It’s a training camp, not a holiday camp. Even though they played on Tuesday night, they still did a double session on Wednesday. On Thursday, they were running first thing. Then it was breakfast. Then we had a defence meeting to discuss our defensive principles next season.

“Then it was out on to the pitch to do a whole session on being outnumbered at the back. That was a brutal session. Then lunch, then a session doing upper-body weights, followed by running drills on the pitch. Then there was the evening meal, followed by another meeting with me and a little bit from Rich (assistant manager Richie Barker) in the classroom.

“By the time 9pm comes around, everyone just falls into bed. They’re exhausted, to be honest. I’m not trying to break them, I’m trying to make them.

“I’ve explained to them, if they can train at the level they have this week and not break, then how easy will it be to play in a game when they feel fresh? How easy will it be to make that run in the 90th minute? We’re trying to make them mentally tougher.”

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