Rotherham United manager Paul Warne insists his latest summer recruit Angus MacDonald is ready to fight for his place in the side ahead of their 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Warne has made it no secret he likes to meet his players before they put pen-to-paper and has self-confessed to ‘trying to put players off’ from signing by outlining the high standards he sets for his side, as well as the high-level of competition for places.
Warne admitted he was looking to add competition amongst his defensive ranks as his defenders return to full fitness. However, he is adamant that the new recruit still has a fight on his hands to nail down a starting place.
“I’m really pleased, it’s been bubbling away for a few weeks now. I spoke to him last week in our usual way, we tried to interrogate him a little bit to try and talk him out of it,” Warne told www.themillers.co.uk.
“It was ideal, we knew where we were lacking in terms of strength of the squad, we’re pretty solid everywhere else but I do still want to improve it.
“We’ve got to get him up to speed which we will, I’ve said to him he needs to come and compete because I think our centre-halves are excellent, so if he gets in the team he’s got the job of trying to keep the shirt and he’s definitely up for that battle.
“They are the characters that we want at this club and we want to keep pushing the club forward and I think he will help us do that.
“It will be great to have Tilty (Curtis Tilt) back, I don’t think we’ll see him on a football pitch until October/ November, Icky (Michael Ihiekwe) is still getting a bit of pain in his knee and Robbo (Clark Robertson) had his broken foot.
“The only 100% fit centre-half I have is Woody (Richard Wood), so we needed more cover at the back and I still think we need more even still.”
MacDonald joins the Rotherham ranks with an array of Sky Bet Championship experience to his name having earned himself a money move to Hull City following a successful stint at South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley between 2016 and 2018.
His desire to play regular first team football for the Tigers was hampered by illness but having recovered from a blood clot and overcoming bowel cancer, Warne insists his new recruit now has the determination to take his Sky Bet Championship chance.
“He wanted to play in the Championship. He got offered a new deal at Hull after finishing the season in their first team. He’s an ideal addition for us, a really nice kid and he’s been through a lot.
“You know what I’m like with people and he’s at a bit of a crossroad in his career I think. He was outstanding three years ago for Barnsley, got himself a great move down to Hull and unfortunately got curtailed with his illness which is obviously not for me to talk about.
“He’s got a real appetite and a fire in his belly to get back to his best, which is great for us. He played a part for us in the game at the weekend and did really well, we’ve now just got to get him up to the fitness of the rest of the group.
“It was a no-brainer for us, we needed a bit of experience and there’s going to be a lot of games this year including around 14 midweek games so games are going to come thick and fast and we’re going need a much bigger, stronger squad this year.
“He can step in and play, he’s a classy player on the ball. He’s aggressive and he knows the league which is great. I’ve said before in previous interviews that I don’t think this is a window for us where we will have projects, if Angus is needed to play in three weeks’ time he will be able to.”