Rotherham United have signed former captain Ian Sharps and ex-Premier League defender Nicky Hunt as their impressive summer recruitment drive gathers pace.
After new manager Steve Evans brought in strike duo Kayode Odejayi and Daniel Nardiello, the Millers chief yesterday turned his attention to defence with a double swoop.
First Sharps, who left Rotherham in 2010 following the League Two play-off final defeat to Dagenham and Redbridge, rejoined the Millers on a two-year deal – subject to completing a full medical – after a two-year stay at Shrewsbury Town which ended in promotion this season.
Then Evans clinched the signing of right-back Hunt, after the 28-year-old signed a pre-contract agreement – his current deal with Preston North End expires on June 30.
Hunt was a regular at Bolton Wanderers until 2010, chalking up over 100 appearances and playing in the Europa League.
“On a personal level it’s going to be fantastic. I just want to give it my all and get this club into the Championship,” said Hunt.
“I got a phone call off Steve Evans and out of courtesy I came and met him, and from the first time he opened his mouth it was brilliant. I looked at the football club, the new stadium and the training facilities.
“I know a couple of the lads, like Kayode Odejayi and Daniel Nardiello, who I played against in League One last year. They’re good players and hopefully there will be more to come.”
One player who needs no introduction to his Millers team-mates is former captain Sharps, who made 185 appearances between 2006-2010, receiving the club Player of the Year award in 2009.
Sharps – named in the League Two Team of the Year for the past three seasons – has been a target for manager Evans for some time, dating back to his days at Crawley Town.
“It has taken a long time to get Ian here,” said Evans.
“He has had a fantastic two years at Shrewsbury, he is someone we admire and respect and I am looking forward to seeing him in action.
“We had him assessed for a long time at Crawley, but Shrewsbury had a big game coming up against Arsenal and Graham (Turner, Shrews’ manager) was worried it would be bad preparation for that, and could destabilise their promotion bid.
“It didn’t take too much persuasion to bring the big fella back (to Rotherham), he wants to be somewhere where the evolution of progression will continue.”
Barnsley have failed in a bid for Kelvin Etuhu but have made an improved offer for Brighton defender Gordon Greer.