Rotherham United boss Steve Evans is seeing less and less of striker Danny Ward and he couldn’t be more delighted.
The 24-year-old is set to play a major role in the Millers’ last three Championship matches of the season after finally reaching full fitness three months on from his January switch from Huddersfield Town.
Injuries have hampered Ward’s progress but, now more than a stone lighter than when he arrived at the club, he is ready to add to the three goals he has already scored.
“He’s incredibly fit now compared to where he was when he joined our football club,” Evans revealed. “He was unfit. He’s probably lost close to a stone and a half.
“In terms of physical fitness, we’ve got it right.”
After foot and knee problems, Ward came on as a sub against Brighton and Middlesbrough before starting last Wednesday at Fulham where he played well and twice came close to scoring.
He could be a key figure as the Millers fight for second-tier safety in matches against Norwich City, Reading and Leeds United after surviving the attention of conditioning coach Paul Warne.
“I gave Paul Warne an opportunity to work with him and Paul has gone and carried out that plan to a T,” Evans said.
The Millers are four points above Millwall, who occupy the third and final relegation spot, and have a game in hand after the Lions lost 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers last night.
But, charged with fielding an ineligible player in the 1-0 win over Brighton, Rotherham face a three-point deduction.
Evans believes his side could have been further clear of the drop zone had Ward been available for selection earlier.
“I think in the five games he missed would have made a real difference to us,” he said.
“He’s got a big part to play in the games to come.”
The club say Saturday’s home match with Norwich is heading towards a sell-out.