ROTHERHAM UNITED manager Steve Evans says that his transfer shopping is far from over after making his fourth signing of the new year in Conor Sammon.
The forward has joined the Millers for the rest of the campaign after his season-long loan at Ipswich Town was cut short due to a lack of first-team opportunities at Portman Road.
The Millers’ hierarchy quickly got in touch with their counterparts at Sammon’s parent club Derby County once they heard about his potential availability.
The club have now secured his services, despite some late interest from Huddersfield Town, who were eyeing some back-up striking cover.
After some brisk January business so far, with Huddersfield pair Danny Ward and Adam Hammill arriving along with Jack Barmby – and Scott Loach becoming the latest departure, having joined Peterborough United on a month’s loan – the revolving doors are expected to continue to swing at the New York Stadium.
But in terms of recruits, Evans insists that purchasing discernable quality – and not simply boosting his numbers – is his sole interest as he evolves his squad into a Championship class one.
Evans, who confirmed one of his targets is another forward, said: “Conor is another solid addition to a squad we have had to develop if we are to ensure we are taking this club forward in the Championship.
“We have a couple of others in for players who we have idenitifed will make us better.
“I don’t think anyone disputes the fact that with the four signings we have brought in and who we have moved out, we are significantly better.”
Sammon heads to South Yorkshire eager having netted just once during his time at Portman Road with the 28-year-old largely forced to cool his heels on the bench due to the scintillating form of 17-goal Championship top-scorer Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick – the pair have 24 goals between them this term.
Standing in his way at Derby is Chris Martin, the second tier’s second-highest scorer behind Murphy with 15 goals.
Having started just eight games for Ipswich this term following on from five for Derby in 2013-14, the Millers have offered the Dubliner regular first-team football, with Sammon effectively a targetman replacement for Alex Revell.
While the deal ends after the Millers’ final game of the season at Leeds United on May 2, Evans says the ball is firmly in Sammon’s court regarding impressing enough potentially to earn a permanent move.
Evans added: “Conor had a really sensible chat with Mick McCarthy and Steve McClaren and said he just wants to play football and train all week knowing he has got a real chance of playing.
“We have given him a platform and worked hard to get him. There were a number of clubs trying to secure his signature and it was quite an intricate deal as it had to involve him coming out of Ipswich, where he joined on a (season-long) basis, and our chairman had to step in and get it over the line with Derby.
“Conor needs to add a few goals to his game, but he’s probably not played in a team consistently for a while that make the chances we make. He gets that opportunity.”
On the prospect of a longer-term deal, Evans said: “He has an opportunity to make sure (chairman) Tony Stewart should make that happen and he gets a wonderful opportunity to look at someone until the third of May.”
Meanwhile, Evans has confirmed a bid for Emmanuel Ledesma was rejected by Middlesbrough late last week, while the Millers’ hopes of bringing back another loanee who impressed at the New York Stadium, Leeds United’s Scott Wootton, have been dashed by owner Massimo Cellino blocking the defender’s return south.
Evans said: “Scott was a young man we would have liked to have kept. That deal in principle was agreed with (Leeds head coach) Neil Redfearn.
“But as we know, Redders is perhaps not subject to making the final decision. Mr Cellino, which he is entitled to – the same as our chairman would be – decided that was not to be the case.
“So we have to respect that and Scott Wootton has gone back to Leeds United.”
On Ledesma, he added: “We made an offer for Manu last week and it was turned down.
“Would I as a manager love to have him as part of my squa. Yes, I would. But they turned our offer down and I have to say our chairman made a very kind offer.”
Evans confirmed that the future of loanee Paul Taylor, whose stint at the club ends after tomorrow’s home game with Bournemouth, will become clearer after the player meets with Ipswich boss McCarthy over the weekend.
The Millers chief is also awaiting developments at Manchester United after left-back Reece James returned to Old Trafford yesterday, with the club eager to bring him back to Yorkshire.
Ben Pringle, who rejected a move to Millwall last week, remains at the club and despite receiving fresh enquiries, no new bids are on the table.