Manager Paul Warne has issued a blunt ‘you can go if you want to’ message to any Rotherham United players who aren’t happy under his regime.
The boss expects some of his fringe men who didn’t feature in the opening-day League One defeat at Fleetwood Town last Saturday or in the midweek Carabao Cup win over Lincoln City to soon start knocking on his door.
“Any player who comes to me and says they don’t want to be here and compete, they can leave,” he said. “I’ve got no issue with that.”
Warne, whose side seek their first points of the new season at home to Southend United tomorrow, is prepared to hold his nerve as he looks to strengthen his squad before the close of the summer transfer window.
Having already made eight signings, he wants a central midfielder, centre-half and possibly a striker and has three weeks left to land his men. But he won’t be hurried.
“As I sit here now, I have 24 players I have to try to keep fit,” he said. “It’s difficult juggling at the best of times.
“I might bring one or two in. But I might not. If I don’t think they’re going to improve my group and I’m not 100 per cent sure, I won’t rock the boat.”
A decision is about to be made on whether to sign 20-year-old trialist central defender Manny Onariase on a season-long loan from Brentford.
Rotherham head into tomorrow’s clash on the back of an encouraging knockout victory over the Imps and loan striker Kieffer Moore may have done enough in that match to have earned a start against Southend.
The 6ft 5in frontman has impressed since arriving from Ipswich Town in pre-season and linked up well with fellow centre-forward Jamie Proctor in the first-round encounter on Tuesday - the day he celebrated his 25th birthday.
“I think he’s at an age where he needs to be playing. I think he’s maturing a little bit,” Warne said. “Since he’s come here, he’s been good and he’s improving.
“I told him there was no guarantee that he would play but that he would get minutes if he deserved them. I told him he’d have to fight for his place every game and he was happy with that. He’s backed himself.
“Like with Proctor, the fans appreciate big, physical centre-forwards who are prepared to run around and put their head in.”
Moore is a big man who has big ambitions this season.
“Realistically, we should be looking at promotion,” he said. “I see the lads train every day and I feel we have the squad to do it. Our mentality is that we want to go out and win every game.
“I chat to Warney all the time. He thinks I’ve been doing good. The way I see it, I offer something different to all the other strikers. I can be that big phsyical presence if needed and I can do stuff on the ball as well.”
“I think Warney is brilliant. He someone you can have a chat with and a laugh with but, obviously, he has a very serious side to him as well.”