Rotherham United will be a Championship side next season and now the dust has settled a little on our promotion it will be time to look at who might/might not be here next season.
Being promoted should mean it will be easier to keep some of the players who might have been looking at moving to a ‘higher’ club now – of course, it might not. We have many players who have time left on their contracts but we also have some whose contracts end in June.
Top scorer Michael Smith is one of those players. Smudge has made fifty-four appearances for Rotherham this season in all competitions scoring twenty-five goals and has had six assists. Never managing a hat-trick he has scored a number of braces – in home league games against Doncaster Rovers, Wimbledon, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Bolton and in the Papa John’s Trophy semi-final away at Hartlepool.
You wouldn’t have to be Einstein to realise that there will have been clubs keeping a keen eye on the thirty year old. I’d really like to think that we will keep Smudge but . . . . while another striker Freddie Ladapo is also out of contract although the Millers do have an extra year on his contract that they could trigger. As he put in a transfer request in the January window I’m doubting that trigger will be applied. We know the twenty-nine year old, who hasn’t been seen around the club since his last appearance in mid-April, can find the net and has scored fifteen times in forty-one games this season.
Scottish midfielder Jamie Lindsay‘s contract comes to an end in the summer with his only goal of the season coming in our five-nil win at the Keepmoat against Doncaster Rovers but the way the other players congratulated him you’d have thought he’d have scored a hat-trick! His game time has been limited a bit this season due to initially injury and then the other players in his position were doing so well. Portsmouth made no secret in January that they were interested in Jamie and were ‘warned off’ by the club. Jamie is another who the club have an extra year option on and I’d think they would use that.
Another not having many minutes on the pitch is Angus MacDonald with the defender having injury and illness worries this season. Out of contract it could be that he might be looking for pastures new but the club could want to keep him on. Michael Ihiekwe has often stood in as captain of the team this season and he’s contributed with five goals in his fifty-two games. Joining from Tranmere in May 2017 Icky has already signed extensions to his contract and I can’t see this summer being any different.
Swede Viktor Johansson signed for Rotherham on a two year deal in September 2020 from Leicester City and the goalkeeper soon became a cult hero amongst the Millers fans and we even have a hat ‘named’ after him! I can’t see a reason that the Viking won’t be here next season. Another ‘keeper out of contract is Josh Chapman who signed a years’ deal last summer after a successful trial. Again, providing he doesn’t mind being third choice then I can see him starting the new season with Rotherham.
Twenty-six year old Mickel Miller has been on the side-lines for the last four games with an injury but had scored four times in thirty appearances. He joined from Hamilton Academical in the summer of 2020 on a two year deal and I think he will sign an extension to his contract. Joe Mattock arrived at the New York Stadium seven years ago and has signed two previous contract extensions. Many of the thirty-one year old’s appearances have been off the bench this season.
Irish International Chieo Ogbene signed a three year deal in at the end of August 2019 and I assume is another who Rotherham have an extra year on his contract. The twenty-five year old winger and the Millers fans have a mutual ‘love’ for one another and he has already hinted that he will be a Miller next season. He has made fifty-three appearances this season scoring four goals.
Also out of contract is youngster Jake Cooper after he penned a new deal in 2020. Jake has had a loan spell with Darlington early this season before joining National League side Altrincham in February. He could be given a year’s extension I would think.
So, who will stay, who will go? Only time will tell.