Rotherham v Reading: Redfearn relishing firmer footing at Millers

Rotherham United manager Neil Redfearn is looking to build for the future at the New York Stadium (Picture: Scott Merrylees).
Rotherham United manager Neil Redfearn is looking to build for the future at the New York Stadium (Picture: Scott Merrylees).
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PLANNING and stability were two luxuries that Neil Redfearn knew precious little about during his seven-month tenure as head coach at Leeds United.

As his predecessors and his immediate successor at Elland Road have now found out.

But 30 miles down the M1 at Rotherham United, Redfearn is being given the tools to build something with firmer foundations under Tony Stewart and you sense that is all he has ever asked for.

As his old club start off another managerial chapter under ex-Millers chief Steve Evans, so Redfearn is addressing the here and now at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, but also with one eye on the future.

Redfearn, who will direct operations from the home dug-out for the first time in tonight’s Championship clash with Reading, has already made his first foray into the transfer market, bringing in Norwich City left-back Harry Toffolo on a month’s loan. The England under-20s defender, handed his Canaries debut in their Capital One Cup victory at the New York in August, is set to be handed an immediate debut for the Millers, with Joe Mattock sidelined for a spell with a shoulder injury.

Millers fans wishing for a glimpse into the longer-term future under Redfearn could do worse than study Toffolo, if he lines up as expected.

Toffolo is a young player with energy, who is technically proficient and comfortable on the ball – as he displayed during an impressive season-long loan at Swindon Town, whose passing traits made them the stand-out footballing side in League One last season.

Like-minded individuals were given the licence to shine at Elland Road by Redfearn, most impressively manifested in Lewis Cook and Charlie Taylor.

At Rotherham, Redfearn – who worked with players brought in by sporting director Nicola Salerno and owner Massimo Cellino at Leeds – will be handed the final say as part of a technical committee concerned with recruitment.

And while the funds to bring in players are clearly not inexhaustible, the fact that Redfearn can bring in players with the footballing DNA that he so desires is worth perhaps more than money.

He said: “It is not just me, we are all part of this (at Rotherham). That was explained to me right from the off and it really appealed to me. I have a chairman who is right behind us and we are all part of this united team who want to go together and make Rotherham successful.”

On bringing in Toffolo, with the Millers down on numbers on the left with Mattock sidelined and Joe Newell also struggling, Redfearn added: “As soon as it came up, the problem get addressed and we acted quickly and have got to thank all parties for that.

“Harry is a really talented boy. He will give us that athleticism and quality.

“For me, the accent for us going forward is young players and my background is developing young players and we would love to have a group of our own that we can draw from as well. Hopefully, going forward, we will be able to get into this sort of situation.”

To say that Redfearn will be thankful for the stability and order he is provided at Rotherham is an understatement – it is poles apart from the situation at his old employers.

Redfearn is just glad to be afforded the chance of building a side in his ethos, supported by like-minded individuals.

On the events at Leeds, he added: “I don’t want to comment too much, but to build and create anything, you need to have some sort of stability.

“Obviously, it’s frustrating for Uwe as he will have had his plans and will have tried to put things in place.

“I have got a lot of friends at Leeds and I wish them every success, other than when they play us. To be honest, I am more interested in Rotherham United.

“This is what I am interested and excited about. We have a lot of good people at this football club who understand the game and what to do.”

As well as Mattock, Danny Ward, Joe Newell and Lee Freckington are also out this evening, along with Richie Smallwood, who is serving a one-match ban.

Redfearn admits a run of three matches in seven days will test his side’s resources, with boosting his attacking department being one specific area he is keen on augmenting.

He said: “These three games will give me a chance to assess the squad in a short space of time.

“After that, it’s a case of sitting down and having a look at everything and then maybe if these lads need some help, we will maybe need to bring some people in.

“I am mindful of the age of the squad and want to make it more vibrant and athletic and mobile and it takes time. But the thing is you have not got time and must act quickly and as soon as you identify it, then we have got to start looking.”

Last six games: Rotherham DLWWLL; Reading LWLWWW.

Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).

Last time: Rotherham United 2 Reading 1; April 28, 2015; Championship.