Striker Danny Ward believes he can score the goals to fire Rotherham United up the Championship table under new boss Alan Stubbs.
The forward was a key figure in last season’s second-tier survival campaign, before Stubbs’ arrival, with his pace and all-round attacking play.
He has struggled for goals since his arrival at AESSEAL New York Stadium 18 months ago, but feels ready to assume the scoring responsibility when the season kicks off on August 6.
“I need to add more goals to my game,” the 24-year-old told The Star. “I’m certain I can. I’m looking to impress the new manager enough to get a run of games and, if I can do that, I’m sure the goals will come.
Stubbs has set his new side the challenge of pushing for the top 10 in his first season in charge.
Ward scored three goals in 16 appearances after joining the Millers from Huddersfield Town in January 2015 and then added four more in 36 matches last term.
But he did manage double figures in his final year with the Terriers, bagging 10 at the rate of one evey four games.
“I have set myself a target,” he said. “The aim is 20. As a striker, it’s good to have a target to go for. I may not get there, but you’re a better player if you have something positive to work towards.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs has signed former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Lewis Price with the intention that an experienced Championship understudy will draw even greater performances from last season’s Player of the Year, Lee Camp.
“He comes in to provide good competition for places. That’s what we want for all of the positions, not just the goalkeeping situation,” the manager said.
“Campy has done fantastic last season and there is no reason why that’ll change. I think every player does like to be pushed because I think that you can get that extra couple of per cent out of each individual.”
Price, aged 31, whose previous clubs include Ipswich Town, Derby County and Crystal Palace, has signed a two-year deal after turning down a 12-month contract at Hillsborough.
He has made 130 league appearances, many of which have been in the second tier, throughout his career.
Stubbs was briefy a teammate of Price at Derby and was happy to follow Millers goalkeeping coach Andy Dibble’s recommendation that the club should make a move for the Welsh international.
“It was important to get someone in with experience, and also someone who has experience in The Championship and has consistently played at a good level,” Stubbs said.
“I have had a little bit of time with Lewis as a player so I know what type of person and what type of character he is. He will be great in the dressing room and I know he will fit in here really well.”
Price will meet his new teammates for the first time tomorrow as the Rotherham squad flew back from their trip to Poland yesterday and were given today off.
Midfielder Dean Whitehead is continuing to train with Huddersfield Town while he weighs up a move to the Millers.
Whitehead, 34, who enjoyed long spells in the Premier League with Sunderland and Stoke City, has a year left on his Terriers deal but is tempted by the prospect of playing at New York.
“He knows I would like to keep him, that he is welcome here,” Town boss David Wagner said. “He knows what he can expect from us this season and what he can expect at Rotherham.
“Dean knows he has to make a decision, and he is experienced enough to make a good decision. He is the type of character that, when he makes a decision, he stands behind it 100 per cent.
“In the meantime he is working as normal with us with a good attitude as usual. We will accept whatever decision he makes, and he has all the time he needs.
“But I don’t expect a situation where it takes a fortnight.”
Stubbs says the the Millers are waiting on answers from several clubs about possible new recruits.
“I don’t just want to bring numbers here. Anyone can do that,” he said. “I want to try to bring quality.”