Manager Neil Redfearn told Rotherham United’s Jonson Clarke-Harris to forget a move in the January transfer window because he believes he can turn the youngster into a 20-goal-a-season striker.
Other clubs enquired about the Millers youngster before the 11pm deadline last Monday.
But Redfearn revealed: “My advice to him was ‘stick around’ because eventually he’s going to be the main man up top. He’s going to be the one who gets us 20-odd goals a season.
“There was interest in Jonson, and rightly so. He’s a major asset to this club. He’s not for sale. There were tentative enquiries as regards money, but at the end of the day he’s our player. We want him here. He wants to be here. We’ve got him in a good place where he can thrive.”
Clarke-Harris is likely to be on the bench for today’s Championship clash at bottom club Bolton Wanderers, but Redfearn is excited by the prospect of turning the 21-year-old into a regular starter.
“I want to work with him for the next two years. I want to make him into a top performer,” he said. “I want Rotherham United to get the benefit of him. I’m not saying he wouldn’t get good coaching elsewhere, but it would be only as good as the coaching he’s getting here.”
Wanderers will be without dangerman Zach Clough through injury this afternoon, but made no attempt to play down the significance of a match which pits them against a club three places and four points above them in the table.
“This is huge. I don’t think we can afford to lose this one. The boys understand it,” said Trotters assistant manager Steve Walford.
“Zach isn’t ready. When you’re putting the balls in the box, you need someone to finish them off and Zach can do that. We’re always going to miss him.”
Rotherham, who this week appointed Nicky Eaden as Redfearn’s No 2 on a two-and-a-half-year contract, hammered Bolton 4-0 at AESSEAL New York Stadium on December 26 after a goalless first half.
“They are a decent team. We didn’t turn up on Boxing Day,” Walford added. “But, saying that, Zach had a decent chance early on and if we’d gone 1-0 up then who knows?
“We didn’t play at all well. It was one of the worst performances since I have been here. We were never in it – and that can’t happen this time.
“They are strong, well-organised, have a bit of pace and try to get behind you. They want to counter-attack.
“We have to defend better than we did on Boxing Day. I think we will. Young Rob (Holding) has come into the back four and looked brilliant and I think Dorian Dervite has been back to form in the last couple of games.”