Rotherham United keep busy in bid to get promotion campaign off to flying start

Paul Warne has expressed his delight at signing a player he has long admired as his recruitment for the new season continues apace.

Rotherham signed three players in 24 hours over Tuesday and Wednesday, with versatile 23-year-old Hamilton Academicals midfielder Hakeem Odoffin joining on a three-year deal and Huddersfield Town defender Rarmani Edmonds-Green agreeing to a season-long loan deal.

The trio was completed by 24-year-old Rochdale midfielder Ollie Rathbone – also to a three-year deal – a player Warne believes can be key to his side unlocking opposition defences.

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“I’ve always been a massive fan of Ollie’s, but never been in a position before where I thought I could take him out of Rochdale,” said Warne of a player who played alongside Marcus Rashford in the Manchester United Academy and has over 140 appearances in League One with Rochdale under his belt.

Midfielder Ollie Rathbone, seen in action for Rochdale, left, has joined Rotherham United, where manager Paul Warne has long been an admirer. Picture: Lewis Storey/Getty Images

“So I struck when Rochdale were relegated, which sounds a bit awful, but the best players are the most ambitious ones and it’s no different to us going down and someone coming in for Matt Crooks.

“Ollie’s just a little bit different to our midfielders and in League One especially teams might come here and defend crosses because we’re pretty notorious at crossing the ball. I think we need someone a little bit different, someone with a bit of guile and that’s what Ollie brings us. He can unlock a door, he can put our strikers in and we won’t have to be so dependent on going out wide and getting crosses in.”

Rathbone will compete for a place in midfield alongside Jamie Lindsay, Dan Barlaser, Ben Wiles and another new boy in Odoffin.

“Hakeem brings us a bit more ahthleticism in the team,” said Warne.

Hamilton Academicals' Hakeem Odoffin, left, has joined Rotherham United on a three-year deal. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

“He can play sitting midfielder which is the role I prefer him in, but he also gives us cover at right-back and at centre-half.

“He started at Tottenham but stalled a little bit, so hopefully we can bring out the best in him.”