Young attacker Jerry Yates has played his way into caretaker manager Paul Warne’s first-team thinking as Rotherham United continue to resist transfer-window interest in star striker Danny Ward.
Yates, aged 20, impressed for the Millers when he came on as a second-half substitute in last week’s FA Cup defeat against Oxford United at New York Stadium.
Warne is prepared to reward him with more action when Rotherham return to Championship action at home to Norwich City this weekend.
“Jerry is the epitome of this club,” said Warne, who is expected to remain in the hot-seat for an extended spell.
“He is hard-working and honest. He has got the ignorance of youth, which is a great gift to have.
“I thought Jerry was outstanding against Oxford. He did well. If I pick the team for Saturday he will have a big part to play, I hope.”
Yates, who has come through the youth ranks to make six substitute appearances in the second tier this season, may feature again alongside Ward who has a host of Championship suitors keen to secure his services this month.
Ten-goal Ward is out of contract in the summer. However, the Millers are thought to have an option to extend his deal by a further 12 months and are in a strong bargaining position.
Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Derby County, Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers are among the sides to have made contact about the 26-year-old. There has been at least one bid, but Warne says it would take “super money” to tempt the division’s bottom club to sell their prized asset.
Yates, meanwhile, replaced Dexter Blackstock against the U’s just after Rotherham had levelled at 1-1 and stood out as the home team pushed for a winner before the visitors sealed victory late on.
“Second half, we went for it, and the crowd are always going to support a team here who go for it,” said Warne.
“Did everything that Jerry tried come off? No, it didn’t. I’d say 60 per cent of what Jerry did was good, 40 per cent was a bit ugly.
“But did the fans appreciate 100 per cent of what he did? Yes, they did, because that’s the sort of crowd we have.”
Warne is looking to begin his January recruitment as soon as he can and hopes to have a new signing in place in the next couple of days.