Rotherham United: Warne wants Bray next year

Paul Warne
Paul Warne

Loan youngster Alex Bray could be offered the chance to stay with Rotherham United next season.

The Swansea City winger has made only two senior appearances since joining the Championship’s bottom club in the January transfer window but has made a good impression in training.

Caretaker manager Paul Warne, whose side head to Wolves on Saturday 19 points from safety and set to be relegated in the next few games, believes the 21-year-old has the potential to be an asset in League One.

“I pulled him the other day and said I’d like him to stay at the club longer and get his chance here,” the interim boss told The Star.

“He’s done well in the reserves and I like him in training. Physically, he needs a pre-season with a men’s team and then, I think, you’d see the best of him. He’s got a real chance.”

Warne has been placed in charge until the end of the campaign and there is a chance he will remain in the hot-seat next term, although firm decisions have yet to be made by either him or the club.

Lee Frecklington

Lee Frecklington

Bray, whose pace and directness has caught the eye of his teammates, came on as a substitute in Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Brighton after his boss had said sorry to him for using him so sparingly during Rotherham’s relegation scrap.

“In a team meeting, in front of all the lads, I apologised to him,” Warne revealed. “I said there was a few who had the right to knock on my door and ask why they weren’t playing. He was one. Joe Mattock was one.

“I said: ‘In fairness, Mate, every time I think about putting you on, I’ve already used all three subs’. That’s the truth.

“He’s not frustrated, though. He’s a great kid. He said he’d rather be on the bench here and potentially getting in the team and playing than playing in Swansea Under-23s.”

The Millers are already making moves to try to hang on to fellow loanee centre-half Semi Ajayi, 23, who turned in a man-of-the-match performance against the Seagulls.

Meanwhile, long-serving midfielder Lee Frecklington, back in the first team after ankle surgery, says that, despite the club’s position, the atmosphere in the camp is as good as it was in last season’s successful survival push under Neil Warnock.

“It’s the most positive in the dressing room since I’ve been here, maybe on a par with Neil Warnock at the end of last season,” he said. “But we had the results then to kind of bring that positivity.

“Even though we’re losing, the lads are still upbeat and positive. The biggest pro with Paul Warne is that he makes sure nobody has got their head down, nobody is sulking. You have to keep moving on. You can’t dwell on it.”

Skipper Frecklington says he would love Warne to remain at the helm rather than returning to his old role of fitness coach.

“Personally, I’d be delighted with it,” he said. “I’m really happy to have him in charge. It’s a happy place to play football. He would get my vote 100 per cent.

“He knows his football. He’s been in the game a long time. I think that sometimes he pulls himself down a little bit. He’s a better coach than he sometimes makes himself out to be.

“I think as an all-round manager he is everything you would want.”

The Millers made a loss of £1.46 million for the year ending June 30 2016, club accounts show.

Gross profit was £1.29m but administrative expenses of £2.75m led to the loss.

Turnover was £13.3m and the wage bill £8.8m.

The accounts show a £1.3m loan from the company owned by Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart, ASD Lighting.

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