Paul Warne has done an impressive job at Rotherham, taking the club over in crisis last season and performing an impressive rebuild.
The former Millers striker has put together a squad that is mounting a promotion push in League One and over the three transfer windows at the helm has been fairly active.
Here, we look at everyone of Warne’s 20 signings and assess their impact.
The goalkeeper was Warne’s first signing, a move departing goalkeeping coach Andy Dibble set up, and the Millers appeared to be getting a solid number one. However, O’Donnell, who had previously spent time on loan at the club, never seemed to convince Warne and faced a constant battle to retain his shirt. He was in and out during the first part of the season, with some good displays mixed with some less so, before being allowed to leave for Northampton in January.
Brought in from Swansea’s academy as a prospect for the future, the step up to senior football has proved a bridge too far for Bray so far. He made five substitute appearances last term and only made three Checkatrade Trophy outings this season before being shipped out on loan to Forest Green.
Warne brought the tall Cardiff centre-half in on loan in last January’s transfer window and he immediately appeared comfortable at Championship level leading to the boss saying he could develop into a £10million player. He also showed his ability to produce a massive rick – something he still has – and that led to him spending time out of the side in the early part of this campaign. However, he returned to his domineering best over the winter’s long unbeaten run and is a contender for player of the year.
Recommended by the club’s new head scout, Warne was given £300,000 to bring the highly-rated Plymouth left-back to the club and it looked like a positive signing for the future. Purrington soon found himself back behind Joe Mattock in the pecking order and has endured a dreadful season this time around as injury and Mattock’s form have restricted him to just six appearances in all competitions. Suffered a new low at Shrewsbury when Warne chose central defender Michael Ihikewe at left-back.
If one transfer could have summed up Rotherham’s miserable campaign last year then it might have to be Carlton Morris’. The young Norwich striker was a deadline day signing but a problematic hamstring injury meant he did not join up with his new club until the middle of March. By that time the Millers were all but down, not that he pulled up many trees when he did get to town, failing to score in eight appearances.
Arriving as a free transfer after the window closed last season, Ekstrand goes into a special group of one-appearance wonders for Rotherham. The experienced centre-half played in the 5-0 drubbing at Cardiff, picked up a knee injury and was never seen again.
Warne’s first summer signing ahead of the 2017-18 campain, Ihiekwe arrived on a free transfer from Tranmere. He started off as the most consistent defender in a back four that was prone to costly errors but his own level began to drop at the same time as a nasty winless streak. A change of personnel left him on the bench but he has covered at left-back in recent weeks.
Billed as Richie Smallwood’s replacement, the biggest compliment that can be paid to Potter is that Smallwood’s absence was not felt in the early part of the season, when the former MK Dons midfielder was a standout performer with his cool head and simple ball retention. He suffered a bad Achilles injury in December and has not featured since.
Proctor commanded a fee from Bolton and going on his pre-season showings and early-season form, the £75k was a snip. Unfortunately a horrific knee injury suffered against Charlton in August ruined his campaign and left the Millers with a hole in attack. He is hoping to be back in action before the end of the season.
Arguably the marquee signing of the summer when he arrived from Fleetwood, Ball took his time to get going after injury and the form of other players. He kick-started his own season and the club’s with two goals at Blackpool and was a key figure in the 14-game unbeaten run. He will be an important player between now and the end of the season.
A summer signing from Barnsley, Williams had been beset by injury problems, but Warne got him fit and he made a flying start to the season, looking a threat on both flanks. He has continued that throughout most of the campaign, remaining a danger if he has come off the bench. He has contributed goals and made plenty more.
Ipswich ought to be sending a big thank you letter to Warne after the Millers boss turned a £10,000 signing into a £700,000 one. Moore ripped up League One in the first half of the season, scoring 13 goals in 21 appearances, meaning it was impossible for the Millers to keep him. He was sold to Barnsley, but life after Moore has been good.
The right-back was supposed to be the Ipswich loanee that we were excited about, but he took time to settle in at South Yorkshire and found himself not playing much football. However, he came into the team at the start of the brilliant run and made the position his own, shoring up defensive mistakes and being a dynamic force in attack.
International call-ups ensured it was a stop-start to the Fulham goalkeeper’s season-long loan while his maverick punching tendencies attracted a few doubters. But the Slovakian has grown as the season has progressed and is the undisputed number one.
Not necessarily the summer deadine-day signing everyone was hoping for, but Towell has turned out to be a real gem in the centre of the park. His box-to-box capabilities, composure on the ball and eye for goal have made him a key player. Fans would love to see his loan move from Brighton turned into a permanent one.
Another signing for the future, the young Brentford defender came to the club without much first-team experience and knew there would not be much on the immediate horizon. Warne decided he was nowhere near ready for action and farmed him out to Cheltenham in January.
Added to the squad after Josh Emmanuel’s early struggles, Cummings did add some experience and versatility. He fell out of favour before Christmas, coinciding with a good run for the team, and has struggled to get back into the side.
Signed with big boots to fill in the January transfer window following the departure of Kieffer Moore, Smith has proved to be a fine replacement. He has led the line superbly, brought others into play and has found the back of the net regularly.
Armed with over £200,000, Warne brought the Burton midfielder to the club in January in a real statement of intent. He struggled to break into a strong midfield partnership but showed his promise in the 3-0 win at Northampton and no one is doubting his time will come in a Millers shirt.
A deadline day signing, Lavery was brought to the club to increase Warne’s attacking options. Again, coming into a winning set-up he has found it difficult to get regular playing time but possesses quality off the bench that may come in useful between now and the end of the season.