Manager Paul Warne is looking to make “three or four” May signings as he aims to make an early start to Rotherham United’s recruitment for next season’s League One campaign.
The boss of the relegated Millers, who are in Championship action at home to Birmingham City tomorrow, has already held meetings with two targets and has two more lined up.
He wants to bring in around eight new faces, including two hungry players from non-league football, before the club kick off life in the third tier.
“I would like to think I would bring three or four in during May, possibly June,” he said. “I don’t want to do all my dealings in pre-season. It is a different shop then.
“The targets we have identified, we have spoken to them, spoken to their agents. They know we are in the ball park regarding the money they want. So, at the end of the day, it is all about what the player wants to do.
“We can’t force their hand. Ideally, in the first few weeks in May we will get some signings in and the fans can buy into what we are trying to do here for next season.”
Warne revealed that his face-to-face encounters with potential recruits had gone well and the players have been in regular contact since.
“I have met two and I am going to meet another two in a couple of weeks, though one might be after the season ends because they are concentrating on their football now,” he said.
“Anyone else we try to sign I will endeavour to go and try to meet them. I am not going to say it is going to eradicate any recruitment disasters. I would just sleep easier at night knowing I had met them.
“The meetings were really good. The agents told our recruitment guy they both loved me and would want to play for me! But I would expect them to say that because they want to get a deal.
“Both players have texted me about 50 times. One of them has even asked about golf courses around here, which is a good sign. I think the meetings went positively but, fundamentally, it is about whether we can pay them what they want.”
Warne believes bringing in players from non-league who are desperate to make an impact in league football will help him to create a stronger spirit and better culture in the Millers dressing room.
“I would like to get a group together that wants to be together,” he said. “You see all the successful groups, they are tight, they want to win together.
“I will try my hardest to get a couple of non-league players in. They will have a positive effect. I will need a little bit of experience and I will get guys in who have played plenty of games in League One. It makes sense. I need a mix of personalities.”
Meanwhile, Warne has hinted that goalkeeper Lewis Price, after his antics at Wigan last Saturday, was facing the axe for tomorrow’s New York Stadium clash before falling ill this week.
The 32-year-old, who needlessly jumped on the back of Latics substitute Nick Powell in stoppahge time to concede the free-kick which condemned the Millers to a 3-2 defeat, is ruled out with tonsillitis.
But the manager said: “Would he have played had he been fit? That’s a good question.
“I would have spoken to Polly (goalkeeper coach Mike Pollitt) about it and we would have addressed who we think the best goalkeeper is going forward. It would have put a greater doubt on him, put it that way.
“I had a personal meeeting with him on Monday. He was apologetic. You make mistakes. He apologised.
“It just can’t happen again. It’s unacceptable. I’m disappointed, obviously, as is he. He’s embarrassed by it. But I can’t just keep berating the lad. It’s pointless. I need to pick the group up, and he’s a big part of that group. We move on.”
Richard O’Donnell should be in goal tomorrow. Right midfielder Anthony Forde hurt his leg at Wigan and will miss out, but central midfielder Tom Adeyemi could return to the squad after a calf injury.
Fellow midfielder and skipper Lee Frecklington is expected to miss the rest of the campaign because of severe bruising to his shinbone.
Warne says he has identified his new No 2 and the appointment is in the process of being made.