Rotherham United: ‘Pizza’ boss serves up double treat

Jonson Clarke-Harris with Millers No 2 Paul Raynor
Jonson Clarke-Harris with Millers No 2 Paul Raynor
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He asked for takeaway pizza and then made two very tasty deliveries of his own.

Negotiations went on late into the night on transfer deadline day at New York Stadium on Monday and manager Steve Evans was a hungry man.

After calling for pizza, he went on to pull off two signings to whet the appetite of the club’s followers, bringing in the pace and potential of Oldham striker Johnson Clarke-Harris for a club-record fee and the proven Championship scoring ability of former Leeds man Luciano Becchio on a long-term loan.

Argentine Becchio signed from Norwich City and Evans said: “His goal record in this division guarantees interest from other Championship clubs and there were plenty who wanted him.

“We didn’t have to do a lot of convincing. We spoke about how important it was for him to get back playing and scoring goals. It was very evident he wanted to come here.”

Becchio was a feared Championship hitman with Leeds, bagging 20 goals in 31 games in his last season there before joining Norwich in January 2013 when they were a Premier League club. The 30-year-old scored 75 goals in 190 league games, 34 of those as a sub, for Leeds, but has been rarely used by the Canaries.

His loan initially runs until January but there is an agreement between the two clubs that it could be taken further.

Meanwhile, Clarke-Harris, 20, will develop into a “special talent” says Evans, and the Rotherham boss believes he is ready to play Championship football now. “I was given an amazing statistic that he can run the first 10 metres as quick as Usain Bolt,” he said. “He’s electric over short distances.

“We had him scouted, as we do with a lot of young players, and 90 per cent of the reports that came back said we just had to sign him.”

Evans was also hoping to bring in one other player on Monday. That deal stalled for now, but is far from dead.

The Millers manager’s options have been boosted even further by the return to training during the international break of Frazer Richardson, Paul Green and Ryan Hall.