The Millers are interviewing candidates for their vacant post, but yesterday saw an approach to speak to League One Walsall manager Dean Smith ‘categorically rejected’.
The Saddlers confirmed that they had rebuffed the advances of a Championship club, believed to be the Millers, for Smith, 44, who is out of contract next summer.
Smith has impressed many during his time at the Banks’s Stadium, operating under limited resources.
He was named as the ‘League One Manager of the Month’ for August, when his side took 13 points from a possible 15 to set the pace at the top of the table.
Smith, who took over at Walsall in January, 2011, also took the club to the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last term, but the Millers have been thwarted in their bid to speak to him.
A Walsall statement said: “In response to recent media speculation, the club can confirm it received an approach from a Championship club for permission to speak to manager Dean Smith.
“This approach was categorically rejected. As one of the longest serving managers in the country, Dean has been instrumental in the club’s progress since his appointment and is fundamental to our future plans.”
The move comes after the Millers saw their overtures to Burton Albion to bring in Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink as the next manager rejected late last week, with the Dutchman keen to stay put.
Despite the knock-back, the club are understood to be moving towards a successful resolution of their manager search.
Rotherham have shor-tlisted several applicants and will complete the interviews tomorrow – with a view to identifying the successor to Steve Evans over the weekend.
Three candidates are believed to have particularly impressed so far.
The Millers have been inundated with over 60 applications from home and abroad, including candidates from Spain, Portugal, Holland and Germany.
Former Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn remains the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Evans, who left the Millers on September 28.