First New Faces
After such a disappointing season for The Millers ended with emphatic relegation from The Championship that felt like it was a formality at Christmas time, it was obvious that this transfer window was going to be a very busy and important one for The Millers.
From what I saw from the team last season simply put that squad would not be good enough to help us make a decent stab at League One this season let alone help us main our status in The Championship last term. Paul Warne will be hoping that the players he has brought in and the ones that are still to come in can bring a freshness to the squad and more importantly the quality to at least make us competitive next season and bring back some good times for the New York faithful. Below I’ve discussed the deals that have been done so far and whether they can have the desired impact:
On the 25th of May, barely two weeks after the season had ended Rotherham got their transfer wheels in motion with the signing of Michel Ihiekwe. Ihiekwe a 24-year-old centre back who spent his youth career at Liverpool signed his first professional contract at Wolves. After struggling to make an impact at Wolves the centre back had various loan spells at Cheltenham Town and Tranmere Rovers.
After impressing for Tranmere they decided to sign him on a permanent deal. In his 3 years with them he was part of a team that was relegated from The Football League during the 15/16 season and failed to get promotion straight back to League Two from The National League last season.
Michael is a centre back who has suffered lengthy injuries during his relatively short career so far. This will be a concern to Rotherham fans after loosing Broadfoot who has returned north of the border we now only have Semi Ajayi who has signed on a permanent deal from Cardiff City after a decent loan spell with us last season, Ritchie Wood along with Michael so the club will be banking on him to be a regular starter this term. Michael has a good turn of pace with age on his side. He is comfortable playing in a back 3 or 4 which will allow coach Warne to use different formations next season, crucial after things were too “samey” last season shall we say. Early indications show he will get plenty of game time next season as he’s been a consistent in our first 4 pre-season games.
Darren became our second signing of the summer on the 14th of June a player who has had experience playing at the highest level. He is a full Irish international and had an appearance for Liverpool in the 2004 Champions league against Grazer AK.
After moving around different clubs in England such as Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday in an attempt forge a career for himself, Darren finally found the perfect fit in 2011 with MK Dons who he remained with until the end of last season when he left to join The Millers. During his time with MK Dons he had bitter sweet experiences in the 11/12 season he was the club’s player of the year and in the 14/15 season he achieved promotion from League One with the Milton Keynes based club however he was part of a relegated team from the Championship during the 15/16 season. During his time at MK Dons, Potter worked with Ritchie Barker the now assistant manager at Rotherham and said as others have that this was a big factor when choosing to join the club this season.
I believe this could be Rotherham’s most important signing this summer, not only does he have great experience of playing in this division. He’s the type of player who is comfortable on the ball and with his ability to keep possession can control the middle of the park for us something I feel we never really had with Smallwood. I think the Potter signing will also give license to the likes of Lee Frecklington and fellow new signing David Ball to have more of an impact in the oppositions final third where they are most effective.
Three’s A Crowd
From the middle of June to the beginning of July Rotherham’s transfer business started to really gather pace with three new acquisitions, the second of the three being Rotherham’s marquee signing in my opinion. First through the door was a winger from Barnsley:
Ryan an Australian born winger who has represented Australia at Under 23 level secured his first move to England in 2011 joining Portsmouth. Since then he has become a bit of journeyman around England playing for Fulham, Gillingham, Oxford United, Barnsley and now Rotherham.
A major reason for his many moves has been down to a poor injury record it’s fair to say he’s had his share during his career. If Rotherham can keep him fit they will hope they have a player who can threaten in the wide areas along with Taylor on the other side this could be more than useful with the considerable targets of Proctor and loan signing Moore in the middle
David a player who spent the bulk of his youth career with Manchester City and indeed was part of their Youth Cup winning team in 2008 has made a name for himself in The Football League first of all winning promotion from League One to the Championship with Peterborough via the playoffs during the 10/11 season. Then in the 13/14 season he had more playoff success this time with Fleetwood from League Two to League One. Ball became more of a household name when he was nominated for the FIFA Puskas Goal Of The Season Award scoring a delicious long-range chip against Preston North End.
The former Fleetwood man is type of technically gifted “Number 10” type of player that could get the fans on the edge of their seats this season with plenty of goals and assists. I feel he is Rotherham’s marquee signing this summer this is not a player who was not wanted by Fleetwood, he was a regular there and Rotherham have been able to lure him away from a top club. Uwe Rosler the Fleetwood Manager has shown genuine disappointment after losing Ball another testament to what a good player he is.
On the 3rd of July Jamie became Rotherham’s 5th signing of the summer and like Ryan Williams before its fair to say he has had a journeyman career playing for 8 clubs in England now including the likes of Swansea City and Bolton Wanderers. However Proctor had the best of his times working with Ritchie Barker at Crawley Town between 2013-2014 scoring 15 goals in 58 Apps and was another player to say that the prospect of working with Barker again was a big driving force behind moving to The Millers.
I think the success of this move will depend on how quickly Jamie can settle at the club, from what has been said in the past about him he has struggled to make his mark at different clubs because he has found it hard to settle as well as being unfortunate with some injuries. Millers fans will be hoping he can rediscover the form he showed last time he worked with Ritchie, if he can he will help to fill the void left by Danny Ward after his move to Cardiff City and if this is the case I think he could be a very shrewd signing.
The Tractor Boys
Between the 10th and 13th of July Rotherham signed two players on loan from Ipswich Town. The first to join was striker Kieffer Moore. Having seen snippets of Kieffer during his time at Forest Green Rovers when they were in the National League, he reminds me of an Alex Revell type of figure, a big target man who with the likes of Proctor and Yates gives us a different dimension and this excites we with the type of wingers we have at the club.
The second signing is young 19 year old Josh Emmanuel who plays at full back and if this means that we will see less of Darnell Fisher then it will be a good move in my eyes!! In all seriousness though Josh is a player with promising potential and no doubt will be looking to perform well to use his loan move to the New York Stadium as a stepping stone to making a career for himself with Ipswich in The Championship.
There are strong rumours that Josh Windass of Rangers could be the next through the door. Stay tuned for a blog about that move if or when it happens.
M.U.M are the words!