Rotherham United: Banter helped Millers goal hero Matt Derbyshire find his form

Matt Derbyshire, right, celebrates with Paul Green
Matt Derbyshire, right, celebrates with Paul Green
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Goal hero Matt Derbyshire had revealed that the jokes from his teammates kept him going during the dark days of his early Rotherham United career.

The striker failed to score in his first 16 Championship matches, but the man with the Premier League pedigree has come good with two goals in his last games, including one in Saturday’s 2-0 win over high-flying Ipswich.

“We’ve got a great group of boys here and if anything we’ve had a bit of banter about it, which has helped me and helped the team as well,” said the 28-year-old.

“You crack on and you get opportunities, a little run in the team, and fortunately for me it’s hit the back of the net a couple of times in the last three matches.”

Derbyshire left the pitch at AESSEAL New York Stadium to a standing ovation, and has no hard feelings about comments from disgruntled supporters during his dry spell.

“That’s football. I’m there to score and if I don’t I’m there to be criticised,” he said.

“I’m big enough to stand up to that and show the fans what I can do given the right opportunity.

“Of course it (the goalless run) affected me. When you’re missing, missing, missing, it’s going to affect anybody, no matter who you are.”

Derbyshire’s return to his best form has vindicated the decision of boss Steve Evans to stick with him.

“I told the kid I was going to play him and I wasn’t going to spend £800,000 on another striker because I didn’t think the people of that value were better than him,” the Millers manager said,

“He looks bang on form. Every time he went into the box the Ipswich defenders, who are very good anyway, had to be on their toes.

“I’ve always maintained - I’ve seen Derbyshire for years - if you give Matt an opportunity he’s more than likely to take it. Everybody at the football club, especially the supporters, will be delighted for him.”