ROTHERHAM UNITED: Steve Evans denies bust-up with centre-back

Fierce competitor: Defender Johnny Mullins.  Picture: paul wickson
Fierce competitor: Defender Johnny Mullins. Picture: paul wickson
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STEVE Evans, the Rotherham United manager, insists he has never fallen out with fans favourite Johnny Mullins.

The Millers chief confirmed he had a “heart-to-heart” talk with the centre-back, who was the club’s player of the season last term, on the eve of their encounter at Exeter City.

With defenders Craig Morgan, Dale Tonge and Kari Arnason all sidelined, Evans recalled Mullins from his loan spell at Oxford United to ease their injury crisis.

Prior to Rotherham’s 3-2 home defeat to struggling Wycombe Wanderers last week, the Rotherham manager tried to sign an unnamed Championship defender on loan to tighten up his leaky rearguard but the deal broke down at the eleventh hour.

Evans regrets not bringing Mullins back before their League Two fixture with Wycombe. But following successful clear the air talks between the duo, Evans restored the 27-year-old to the starting line-up at Exeter and the former Stockport County player delivered an assured performance as the Millers ground out a 1-0 win. It was Mullins first appearance in a Rotherham jersey since their 6-2 humbling at Port Vale in early September.

Mullins is set to keep his place in the side for the trip to Accrington Stanley, which was originally called off on October 2 due to a waterlogged pitch, tonight.

Evans said: “We have had that thirty minute chat and now Johnny just gets on with his football. We have never had a bad word. Johnny wanted to play and we had players in that position and he was not going to get in the team at the time.

“He was outstanding at Exter,” he added. “I think every man who wore a Millers shirt on Saturday made a massive contribution to a big win. We know Johnny is a good player; that’s never changed.

“Johnny is a good professional. He knows what we think of him. I only want players who want to play their part for the Millers. If they are not focused or determined, it doesn’t matter how good they are, we don’t want them.”

Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart held discussions yesterday with Peterborough United’s director of football Barry Fry over midfielder Lee Frecklington. The Millers want to sign Frecklington, who could feature tonight if he shakes off a back problem, on a permanent basis in the New Year. Gillingham, Chesterfield, Bradford and Crawley are all monitoring his situation.