Boss Paul Warne believes the goals could start flowing again for wanted man Danny Ward now the striker’s big-money move away from Rotherham United has been put on hold until the summer.
Ward’s prolific early-season form saw a number of clubs chasing the 26-year-old’s signature in the January transfer window, but the Millers hung on to the hot-shot they rate in the £5 million class for the rest of their Championship campaign.
“Now the transfer window has gone, I am hoping he starts banging the goals in,” said Warne, who takes his bottom-placed side to Bristol City tomorrow.
“I’ve never doubted Danny Ward ever,” the caretaker manager said. “He hasn’t scored for a few games. I am not criticising his workrate. Is he 100 per cent as sharp as he was? Possibly not, and I can understand that.”
Warne reckons a back problem and the speculation surrounding Ward’s future have contributed to a dry spell for the striker who struck eight times in the first 15 league matches of the season but has added only two to his tally in 14 games since.
QPR, Huddersfield Town and Ipswich Town had offers refused last month by Rotherham who can still demand a substantial fee for their centre-forward when their survival battle is over because they have an option to extend his deal, due to expire on July 1, by 12 months.
“We will activate it before the end of the season, for sure,” Warne confirmed. “That won’t be a problem. I have spoken to Danny about that. He knows the situation.
“If he bags another 10 goals before the summer then he might potentially get better bids. I can’t have anyone criticising him. He is a brilliant lad.”
Centre-half Joel Ekstrand, who joined the Millers yesterday, has a point to prove tomorrow if he is named in Warne’s squad for the Ashton Gate clash against his former team.
Ekstrand, 27, played only twice for the Robins this term before his contract was cancelled by mutual consent and the Swedish international said: “It was not what I or the club had in mind.
“The coach (Lee Johnson) did not like the way I played, although I was pleased with my two matches I did play.”