Morecambe v Rotherham United: Millers may have to make do with what they've got up top

A false Covid-19 alarm over Freddie Ladapo underlined how thin Rotherham United’s striking resources are, and with manager Paul Warne starting to sound less optimistic about signing another forward before August 31, he may have to make his own.

Ladapo was ill last week and although tests showed it was not coronavirus and he managed 18 minutes in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic, he is a doubt for tonight’s League One match at Morecambe. Michael Smith and Josh Kayode are the alternatives.

“I’m just not so sure if we’re going to get any more in,” said Warne.

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“We might be on the edge of one in, one out and it’s not really one I want to let out.”

Rotherham United striker Freddie Ladapo, right. Pictures: Getty Images

It has left him pondering Plan Bs without time to work on them.

“We could just play with Ollie (Rathbone) or Wilesey (Ben Wiles) off a striker but I do quite like two up when I can,” he said.

“I’ve considered Cheo (winger Chiedozie Ogbene) a few times but we can’t coach him today and suddenly he’s a really good No 9.

“Last time in League One we started the season with (Jamie) Proctor, (Kyle) Vassell, Smudge (Smith), Freddie Ladapo and Carlton Morris, none of them young pros, so to go from that to two seniors plus JJ (Kayode), there is a need for another No 9.

Millers chief Paul Warne.

“Yesterday my work was to prepare them for this game, and Thursday’s is predominantly for Saturday so games get in the way.

“Cheo can play in any position if truth be told. If the worst comes to the worst, could you play Icky (Michael Ihiekwe) up top? But I don’t want to get into Cheo’s head and teach him to be a targetman or play off the shoulder when I want him to be unbelievable on the right wing against Morecambe.”

Saturday’s was a performance which pleased Warne, and a stoppage-time defeat he is determined not to dwell on.

“We’ve been through such hard times it’s emotionally draining so I’m trying to be a bit nicer to myself,” explained Warne, who will assess centre-half Richard Wood's fitness.

“We don’t think we can work any harder and if the lads perform at their level and it’s a last-minute free-kick, an unbelievable delivery and a really good header, I can be a bit more philosophical.

“If you feel how good the atmosphere is now and think how many people lost their lives, if you lose when you’ve competed really well, what is the point of being down about it?. It's a nicer way to live."

Last six games: Morecambe WWDWDW; Rotherham United LLWDDD

Referee: D Webb (County Durham)

Last time: Morecambe 2 Rotherham United 1, April 6, 2013, League Two