‘More chance my hair growing back than replacing Smudge’ says Rotherham United boss Paul Warne

Paul Warne says there is a better chance of him growing a full head of hair again than of Rotherham United being able to sell Michael Smith and still go into September with a competitive arsenal of strikers.

It is why he believes the League One club will resist any offers for his forwards before Tuesday’s 11pm transfer deadline.

The Millers have only Smith, Freddie Ladapo and Josh Kayode at centre-forward. Warne is hopeful of another, but wary of a bid his club cannot refuse.

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“It’s difficult to get one striker in, to get two in and to replace Smudge (Smith) with one of them two, there’s a better chance of my hair growing back!” joked Rotherham’s bald manager.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne. Picture: PA

“If I kept my three strikers and they stayed fit all season, I would take that but one’s going to have a lack of form, at least one is going to get injured or suspended.

“If we were to lose Smudge it would have to be for a pretty amazing fee. I am confident we’ll get to Wednesday without losing anyone, however I realise that could change.”

Asked how close he was to a fourth striker, Warne replied: “Not close. There’s two we’ve been chasing and it’s a constant phonecall here, Facetime there and it keeps changing. But we’re doing everything we can and we should hopefully get a new body.”

Meanwhile, he hopes FIFA does not punish the many English clubs who have collectively decided not to release internationals for games in countries on the Government’s red list next month.

Wes Harding could be suspended for declining a Jamaica call-up. Otherwise he would have had to quarantine for 10 days on his return.

“I can’t see why footballers can be exempt,” said Warne. “You’re talking about people losing their lives. I understand FIFA’s stance generally but this is unique so I hope commonsense will prevail.”