After Rotherham United loanee Ryan Giles scored on his debut against Middlesbrough, here’s a countdown of Paul Warne’s best loan signings as Millers boss so far…
And obviously Ryan Giles after his debut goal against Middlesbrough!
5) Richie Towell
Towell joined Rotherham in August 2017 on a season-long loan from Brighton. The midfielder came with good pedigree after impressing for Dundalk earlier in his career. But prior to his move to the Millers, he was yet to make an impact in English football. He hit the ground running for Rotherham though as he scored in his full debut as Paul Warne's side beat Bury 3-2.
The Irishman was a mainstay for the Millers in 2017/18 and he was one of their best players. His performances helped guide the club back to the League One play-off final at Wembley - he got two assists as Rotherham drew 2-2 with Scunthorpe in their semi final first leg.
Towell stayed with Rotherham in 2018/19 in the Championship. His form was not quite as good this time around, but he still managed four goals and two assists from his 34 outings in the second tier. He scored in both meetings against Sheffield Wednesday, as Rotherham drew each game 2-2. The 29-year-old's two-year spell with Rotherham came to an end that summer as he made a permanent switch to League Two side Salford City.
4) Kieffer Moore
After having spells with Yeovil Town and Torquay United earlier in his career, Moore joined Ipswich Town in January 2017. He made eleven substitute appearances for the Tractor Boys before the end of the season. With him not being able to secure a regular first-team spot with Ipswich, he was allowed to join Rotherham on a season-long loan in July 2017.
The Millers faithful did not know what to expect from Moore, but Warne and co helped to bring the very best out of him. He scored a hat-trick and got an assist in his home debut as Rotherham steamrolled Southend United to win 5-0 at the NYS. He kicked on from here as he scored braces against Bury and Oldham Athletic in the next few weeks. Moore's best moment perhaps came against Doncaster Rovers, however. With Rotherham 1-0 down in stoppage time at the Keepmoat Stadium, the forward netted an 96th minute equaliser to earn his side a point.
Moore scored 13 times from just 22 League One appearances for Rotherham. This form created January interest in him from several clubs including the Millers. Barnsley eventually won the race to sign him permanently. He has since established himself in the Welsh national team and enjoyed successful spells with Wigan Athletic and Cardiff City.
3) Marek Rodak
Lee Camp left Rotherham in June 2017 to join Cardiff City. This meant Warne had to bring in a new 'keeper to compete with Richard O'Donnell for the number one spot. The Millers went for Fulham youngster Marek Rodak, who had successful loan spells with Accrington Stanley and Welling United in previous years.
Rodak was quite raw to begin with but over his two years at Rotherham he grew into a really strong and reliable goalkeeper. He missed a few games in his first year due to him playing for Slovakia U21's. He did still start 38 times for them in League One, including their three play-off games.
The 24-year-old joined Rotherham again for the entire 2018/19 Championship season. The Millers gave it their all that campaign. Yet quality told in the end as they were relegated back down to League One. It still proved to be a good year for Rodak, though. He thoroughly impressed for Rotherham in his first full season in the Championship. Fulham saw enough from his 45 outings for Rotherham to insert him as their number one 'keeper in 2019/20. Rodak helped them earn promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs.
2) Dan Barlaser
Barlaser enjoyed a fantastic spell on loan with League One side Accrington Stanley in 2018/19. His next short-term move was to Rotherham United and he was tasked with helping Warne's side fight for promotion. The midfielder had his critics to begin with at the New York Stadium, but once he hit his stride in a Millers shirt he has not looked back.
The Geordie went onto be one of the club's leading players last season as they earned promotion to the Championship via PPG. He soon grew to be a real fans favourite as supporters were left gushing over his performances in the centre of midfield. Rotherham were desperate to sign him again ahead of the 2020/21 campaign...
The Millers had to wait a while, but they got their man as Barlaser signed on a permanent deal from Newcastle United. How Rotherham managed to sign him for such a small fee really beggars belief. But their loss is Rotherham's gain with him continuing to shine for the Millers this term. He is playing such a pivotal role in their midfield three at the moment, and he is such a class act on the pitch. The Millers are very lucky to have him and hopefully he stays for a few years to come...
1) Semi Ajayi
It was tough to place Barlaser in second, and maybe if we revisit this list in a couple years he could be at the top. But at the moment we cannot look past Semi Ajayi as Warne's best loan signing. The defender first joined Rotherham on loan in January 2018 from Cardiff City. He made 17 appearances before the end of the season.
Warne was eager to sign Ajayi permanently in the summer. Neil Warnock was Cardiff boss at the time, and you feel that he may have pulled a few strings to let Rotherham sign him for such a low fee. The Nigerian was prone to making an error every now and again, but he continued to gain admirers in his first full season. He played 42 times that year and he played the full 120 minutes as the Millers beat Shrewsbury 2-1 in the play-off final at Wembley.
Ajayi's best season for Rotherham was in the Championship in 2018/19, though. For a lot of this campaign he was operated in defensive midfield, which allowed him to show off his confidence and quality with the ball at his feet. It proved to be a phenomenal season for him personally, as he won the division's Player of the Month award in March.
The 27-year-old even finished the season as one of Rotherham's top scorers. He netted from long range against Leeds United before scoring a brace against QPR en route to their memorable 2-1 win at Loftus Road. Overall he scored eight times from 49 appearances in all competitions. Given his performances and that Rotherham were relegated, it was inevitable that he would depart that summer. He did just that as he joined promotion-chasing West Brom.
Ajayi hit the ground running for the Baggies last term playing alongside Kyle Bartley. They earned promotion to the Premier League by finishing second behind Leeds United. Rotherham fans have watched on with a lot of pride this campaign with Ajayi performing well in the top flight. He even scored against Premier League champions Liverpool to help WBA draw at Anfield. He has come a long way in recent years, but this would not have been possible without his superb two-and-a-half year spell at Rotherham United...