Rotherham United: Akinde no-go as Millers wait for right money for Ward

John Akinde
John Akinde

Rotherham United have ruled out making a move for League Two hot-shot John Akinde as they prepare to part company with striker Danny Ward.

The Millers, who today tied young striker Jerry Yates to a long-term deal, are anticipating at least two bids for top scorer Ward and can demand a substantial fee for him after taking up their option to extend his contract by 12 months earlier this week.

Danny Ward

Danny Ward

Londonder Akinde, aged 27, bagged 26 goals in 48 appearances for Barnet this season, but won’t be the man who will be replacing Ward, 26, at New York Stadium.

The Star understands he has been checked out by the club and doesn’t fit into the approach of manager Paul Warne who wants all-action, 90-minute players in his League One team next year.

Ward is already attracting interest from Championship clubs and Rotherham accept that cashing in on him in the summer will boost their own recruitment after their relegation from the second tier.

“The football club have had a couple of clubs make contact,” confirmed assistant manager Richie Barker. “It is at a fairly early stage, but we are expecting at least two offers.

“That means we can decide what is best for us and what is best for Wardy. Then hopefully everyone will be a winner out of it.

“Hopefully we can strengthen the club from a financial point of view and bring players in and he gets an opportunity to go and play at a higher level.

“We have to take Danny’s wishes into consideration in terms of what’s best for him and where he wants to go. But, at the end of the day, we will do what’s best for Rotherham United.

“The fee is the first thing that has to be right because he is an asset to the football club. There is the chance for us to be strengthened by selling him on. The fee being right is the minimum really.”

Warne revealed more than a week ago that a bid had a been lodged for Ward, who scored 12 goals this term and was the subject of several offers in the January transfer window.

Chairman Tony Stewart said at the time that the money on the table exceeded £2 million, and the club will be seeking something similar now.

The Millers have already made their own bids for strikers and had hoped for news this week, but any movement is now more likely after the weekend.

“I can’t see anybody coming in in the next few days,” Barker said. “I would like to think that we will get some positive answers at the start of next week. It would be nice to get some indication from one or two of them that they are definitely going to come.”

Yates, 20, who scored three goals in 23 games this term, had a year left on his deal but has now committed himself to Rotherham until 2020.

“There have been a good few moments, with the big one being my league debut and the other playing at St James’ Park,” he said. “It’s been a surreal season. I’ve tried to embrace it, and the manager has stuck by me.

“The lads have been good with me. I’ve interacted with them more and they’ve helped me along the way.

“I feel like I’m a part of it, and they treat me like every other senior pro, so it’s just about me pushing on now. Hopefully, together we can get back to the Championship as soon as possible.”

The Millers are still waiting for answers from out-of-contract trio Richard Smallwood, Richard Wood and Joe Mattock after offering them fresh terms.

A fifth pre-season friendly has been announced, at Alfreton Town on Tuesday July 18, kick-off 7.30pm.

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