Rotherham United: Warne’s words of comfort for Millers striker David Ball

David Ball
David Ball

Boss Paul Warne is backing summer signing David Ball to fight his way into Rotherham United’s starting 11 after a faltering start to the striker’s Millers career.

Ball has found himself out of Warne’s League One side after failing to make an impact in the opening-day clash at ex-club Fleetwood Town last month and then suffering a hamstring niggle.

But the manager, whose 12th-placed team are at home to Bury tomorrow, says it’s only a matter of time before the former Manchester City youngster becomes a first-choice pick.

“He obviously wants to get on the pitch sooner than later,” Warne said. “He had 65/70 minutes in midweek for the reserves. I don’t think he’s at his glamorous best yet.

“But we’re at game six out of 46 so I don’t think he has much to worry about. He’ll get in sooner or later.”

Ball, aged 27, was seen as a major capture when he agreed a two-year deal at AESSEAL New York Stadium after scoring 14 times for Fleetwood last term.

Since the Fleetwood game, he has been restricted to three substitute appearances in the league, although he scored as a starter in the Checkatrade Tropy 1-1 draw with Manchester City Under-21s and impressed in the 2-1 Carabao Cup second-round defeat at Premier League Huddersfield Town.

His chances of selection have improved now that centre-forward Jamie Proctor has been ruled out for most of the season with cruciate knee ligament damage.

“How frustrated he is, you’d have to ask him,” Warne added.

“Bally, the first game of the season - as a few weren’t, in fairness - he wasn’t at his best. I changed it for the second game (Lincon City in the Carabao Cup) which they won, then they had that great win against Southend and then they performed well at Peterborough.

“It was difficult to put him back in. I had a conversation with him. I keep harping on about it, but I try to sign good human beings, good people, and I think he’s definitely that.

“He had a bit of a sore hammy. He just felt he couldn’t run at full pace. I had a joke because he’s blessed with the same electric pace that I’ve got. He’s got good energy, though.

“He said he couldn’t knock on my door and ask why he wasn’t playing because the lads who were playing up front, Procs and Kieffer (Moore), were excellent. He’s got no issue with that.”

Meanwhile, midfield man Will Vaulks says he is still trying to prove his worth to Rotherham supporters after the Millers were relegated from the Championship last season in his first year at the club.

“My time at Rotherham has been ups and downs and more downs than ups really,” he said. “I have had stick, which I have never really had in my career, so it is a lot of learning.

“Sometimes, you have to man up and prove people wrong and I am not afraid to do that. Hopefully I can show the Rotherham fans what I am about.

Vaulks has been in and out of the team this term but played well in the 1-0 triumph at Portsmouth and is likely to keep his place for the Shakers clash.

“In any walk of life, you don’t give up after one bad year,” he said. “It was tough and probably the lowest I have been in my football career. If you are going to give up after that, what hope have you got? You have got to be mentally stronger than that.”

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