Richie Barker talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Assistant manager Richie Barker insists that wholesale changes will not be the theme at Rotherham United as the club prepares for a summer recruitment drive ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, despite the departures list topping the numbers of recent seasons.
With the Millers’ retained list confirmed and news the offers that Paul Warne and his coaching staff have made to the players that they are looking to keep hold of now out in the public domain, Barker believes that the setup at AESSEAL New York Stadium will undergo a 'refreshment' in personnel as the foundations are laid for the new season.
With the likes of loanees Marek Rodak, Richie Towell and Zak Vyner heading back to their parent clubs and five other out of contract players set to depart the Millers, Barker admits that this summer could be the biggest upheaval in terms of bodies in and out that he has experienced since his return to the club, simply because previous years have seen the majority of the group kept in place.
“Last year we ended up with relatively a similar squad, so I think this year will be the biggest,” he explained.
“I think at our level, a bit of a rebuild every two years is not the end of the world really. Things have to be kept fresh, and to a certain extent, I think we have reached the end of a two year cycle.
"I think this will be the biggest turnover in players since I arrived, in terms of players going out and coming in. In the first year I was here, there was some rebuilding but not too many players out of contract which ensured not a lot had to be done.”
Barker, Warne and Matt Hamshaw have made regular visits to the AESSEAL New York Stadium since the final whistle blew on the 2018/19 season on 5th May to join Rob Scott and Chris Trotter in lengthy recruitment meetings to discuss potential new arrivals.
The above is in keeping with boss Warne’s desire to conclude any business early to ensure that anyone that will represent the Millers next season is signed in time to join the club on the rigorous fitness testing which will take place at the overseas training camp in Germany this summer.
Having already spoken on the record about awaiting the decisions of those offered fresh terms and the news of a loan arrival potentially on the horizon, Barker continued to explain that the Millers are assessing options across the board from players out of contract, to those available for transfer and of course, temporary additions that could potentially replace the departing loanees.
"We are looking at all three. There's a couple of players who have contracts coming up that we are keen on. There are players under contract that we have made approaches to their clubs for, and we are also having discussions around a couple of loans,” he added.
“Loans have been important to us and have been a big part of our success in the past. Our loan targets were highlighted a number of months ago, and discussions with their parent clubs have been had. There will be a mixture of arrivals, and if 75% of the targets we have in mind come off, then I think we'll be relatively pleased.”