Paul Warne hailed the debut of new boy Ben Purrington as he counts down the days to when he can welcome back his Rotherham United walking wounded.
Purrington stood out in his first Millers game, Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Bristol City, snuffing out the threat of Robins dangerman David Cotterill.
Caretaker manager Warne, who is hoping to have at least four more players available to him for next weekend’s home clash with Blackburn Rovers, predicts a bright future for the 20-year-old left-back.
“I thought he was excellent, and that’s the reason we have brought him in,” he said. “He’ll be a good player in this season and subsequent seasons.
“He’s athletic. He stopped crosses, especially in the first half. He is playing against David Cotterill, who has had a great career, and I thought he kept him really quiet. His physicality kept him going right to the end and he did well. He is going to have a great career.”
Purrington said: “I was delighted to make my debut. I thought I did okay.”
Warne’s bottom-placed side, now 15 points adrift of Championship safety, could have new signings Joel Ekstrand and Carlton Morris in the frame for the Rovers match, while the interm boss is keeping his fingers crossed that midfield man Tom Adeyemi will recover from illness and midfielder and captain Lee Frecklington is declared fit following ankle surgery.
“Frecks can do the running more than most, but when he is striking a ball there is just some pain,” Warne revealed after the loss at Ashton Gate.
“Until the pain goes, we just don’t know. It could be gone today, it could be gone Tuesday or it could be gone in two weeks. That’s what we are waiting for. It has only been three weeks since his op.
“Tom was ill. He was okay on Wednesday, but was awful on Thursday so he didn’t travel with us on Friday. Every time he takes a step forward, he takes one back.
“We gave him the weekend off to try to get himself sorted. Hopefully, next Saturday I will have a better squad to pick from.”
Loan centre-forward Morris is due in Rotherham in the next couple of days after completing his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury with parent club Norwich City and centre-half Ekstrand is building up his fitness after a spell of inaction at previous club Bristol City.
“If I get a few of my injuries back this week, it will be a boost.” Warne said.
Central defender Aimen Belaid and right-back Darnell Fisher, who pulled hamstrings in the January 28 derby against Barnsley, are progressing well but are doubts for the weekend.
Meanwhile, Warne was full of praise for the 210 Millers supporters who made the near-400-mile round trip to Ashton Gate.
“I thought the fans were excellent,” he said. “The fact that at the end they were clapping the lads off showed they appreciated the lads’ effort. They will be disappointed with the result, but as a fan you just ask your team for effort.
“The lads appreciate what they have done, coming a long way when we’re bottom of the league.”