Rotherham United v Lincoln City: Manager Paul Warne hopes unsettled Freddie Ladapo does not become a target for boo-boys

ROTHERHAM UNITED manager Paul Warne is keeping his fingers crossed that wantaway striker Freddie Ladapo does not become a target for the boo-boys ahead of his first appearance on home soil following his decision to table a transfer request.

Ladapo, out of contract in the summer, informed the club of his desire to leave earlier this month in a surprise development.

Conscious of his desire not to keep an unhappy player, Warne accepted the request but also stressed that the will not be leaving unless a suitable offer comes in for the forward, who has hit 12 goals this term. So far, the Millers have not received any bids for Ladapo, an unused substitute in the club’s last two matches.

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Ladapo also has an additional 12-month option that could potentially be triggered by the club between now and June.

Transfer request: Rotherham United's Freddie Ladapo. Picture: Isaac Parkin/PA Wire.

On the prospect of Ladapo potentially receiving some stick from home supporters tonight, Warne said: “I don’t know how they are going to react and I can’t ask people to react the way I want them to because they are all humans with their own opinion.

“It is a difficult one when you are a football fan, as you cannot understand why anyone would not want to play at your club for the rest of their lives.

“If we had Harry Kane here, the fans would be like ‘Why do you want to go to the Premier League with them, you can get us promoted to the Premier’. Well Harry Kane isn’t a Rotherham fan, so there is not much of a chance.

“You can’t blame players for being ambitious, but – hence why I didn’t want it leaking that one of my players put a transfer request in for this reason – come February 1 Freddie is (could be) still our player. If he is, I’d like to think the fans would support him.

Recalled: Millers' Curtis Tilt was recalled from a loan at Wigan - with Athletic still keen to sign him. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

“If he is scoring goals and gets us promoted, then everyone is happy. Then if Freddie decides in the summer he is not happy and wants to play football elsewhere, then that is another conversation to be had.

“But I think whoever puts a Rotherham shirt on should be supported by the fans. However, I do understand why they would be upset. If I could give them a message, I would say if they are unhappy with it, I would not ask them to sing his name, but it doesn’t give any benefit to the team if they booed him.

“Respectfully they choose to do whatever they do. They pay their money, I would rather they sing and cheer the team for 90 minutes rather than use any energy on trying to make a player feel uncomfortable.

“His attitude has been exemplary since he put in his transfer request. He has trained really well, he hasn’t been a problem and I wouldn’t expect him to be.

Plea: Rotherham manager Paul Warne. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“I think he is professional enough to know that if a move doesn’t come off, then he has to get back in the team and put himself in the shop window for future transfer. While he is still here and is training with the attitude he has, he has my full backing.”

Defender Curtis Tilt will not be involved in today’s game amid ongoing speculation over his future.

Tilt was recalled from a third loan spell at Wigan late last week, with the deal which saw him head to Lancashire on a season-long loan last August having an option enabling the Millers to recall him by a cut-off point of January 15.

The club elected to invoke the clause, putting the immediate future of the 30-year-old in limbo.

Wigan remain interested in signing Tilt, who did not take part in training on Monday.

The situations regarding Tilt and Ladapo represent unwanted distractions for the Millers and the end of the current window is will be greeted with a sense of relief by many at the club.

On the pitch, Rotherham head into the game on the back of a late loss at Fleetwood, their second successive away league defeat.

At home, the Millers’ form has been impregnable and you have to go back to September 11 for their last defeat.

Assistant manager Richie Barker, whose side will return to the summit with victory tonight, said: “With the way the transfer window is, you can never keep everyone happy all the time. The Curtis issue is a football club one and not about the team.

“It is about ensuring a correct deal goes through which is right for the football club. At the moment, it is also a little difficult to keep everyone together with Covid (regulations).

“We aren’t based in the training ground and aren’t eating together and aren’t having (collective) team meetings and are on separate buses and not sharing rooms in hotels. That is not ideal.

“Taking one of our strengths away, which is togetherness, team spirit and organisation and everyone knowing what their job is means that it has been difficult.

“But the window will be closed soon and everything will hopefully be sorted and we can get back to running the club like we want.”

Last six games: Rotherham WLWWDL; Lincoln .LDLWWL

Referee: A Haines (Tyne and Wear)

Last time: Rotherham 0 Lincoln 2, August 10, 2019; League One.