Rotherham United: Paul Warne on handling Millers enigma Dexter Blackstock

Dexter Blackstock
Dexter Blackstock

Boss Paul Warne has revealed how Rotherham United are trying to make the most of misfit striker Dexter Blackstock.

Blackstock has scored just one goal in 17 appearances for the Championship’s bottom club since joining them in September on a three-year deal after terminating his contract at Nottingham Forest.

And caretaker manager Warne says he and his coaching staff have talks with the 30-year-old centre-forward in a bid to get their message across to a player believed to be the club’s highest earner.

“He trains the same as everybody else,” Warne said. “He’s in every day. We speak to him. He knows what we want him to do and he does it to the best of his ability.”

Despite a proven track record in the second tier, the 30-year-old, signed by former boss Alan Stubbs, has started only four matches for Rotherham and completed the full 90 minutes once, in the 2-2 draw at Ipswich Town under Kenny Jackett in October.

The Millers have generally played with one up front during the reign of Warne, who took charge in November when Jackett quit after five games, and the interim boss believes Blackstock, whose all-round form has been poor, isn’t comfortable in the role of sole frontman.

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

“He wants it in to feet,” Warne said. “I think it’s more difficult for him to play as a lone striker, if I’m honest. As a lone striker, you run in behind and come to feet and win your headers. It’s a difficult job. I think he’s more suited to playing with another striker.”

Blackstock, whose solitary Rotherham strike came at Norwich City in October, was in the starting 11 for the 5-0 defeat at Cardiff City 10 days ago but was taken off inside an hour and back on the bench for last Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Brentford.

“He went out the other week (at Cardiff) motivated to play,” Warne said.

“We keep trying to get everything we can out of every player. I don’t earmark one player above another.

“We just try to put on sessions which tick a lot of boxes for a lot of players. He’s part of our squad going forward.”

The Millers are at home on Saturday to Aston Villa who are in the bottom half of the table despite starting the season hoping for an immediate return to the Premier League.

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