Rotherham United: Stop Rhodes, says Evans

Joe Skarz
Joe Skarz
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Rotherham United manager Steve Evans has issued a challenge to his defence as they prepare to face one of the Championship’s most feared strikeforces tonight.

The Millers tonight entertain Blackburn Rovers, who have scored in every match this season thanks in no small measure to front two Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede.

Evans said: “It doesn’t surprise me that they have scored in every game.

You look at the boy, Gestede, and Rhodes is a goal machine. But if you’re probably worth 15- to 20 million quid and you earn 50 grand a week then you should be a goal machine in the Championship. He’s an outstanding young man.”

““The task for my team and goalkeeper and central defenders is to make sure young Jordan goes home pointless and goalless.”

Evans, who revealed he could make a signing in the transfer window, added: “I know a number of Premier League sides have tried to buy young Jordan.

“I’ve got every confidence in my defenders, but at the same time I recognise the quality of their strikers.”

The Millers manager said nights like tonight are the reason why the club worked so hard to win Promotiion from League One last seaso.

“We’re good to go. We’re looking forward to it. This is another big night for us,” he said.

“We’re playing against some of the big names in English football. We’re working hard to get it right. Our supporters know how tough this is.”

The Millers are in 19th place but should have more points on the board after some accomplished displays as they adapt to life in the second tier.

“We’re a real fine line away from being a very decent side in this league,” Evans maintained.

In their last two outings, Rotherham destroyed Charlton Athletic in the second half but were held to a 1-1 draw and lost 2-0 at Ipswich Town despite dominating after the break.

Key men in those displays were Lee Frecklington and Ben Pringle, both responding in the right manner after being dropped at Bolton a fortnight ago,

Evans said: “Lee Frecklington had dropped a little bit below par and Ben Pringle had dropped a little bit below par. Lee and Ben were stunning in the second half against Charlton and I’d find it difficult to argue against the fact they were outstanding at Ipswich.

“That was arms round them. You don’t shout at players who can’t take it. You shout at those who do need that kind of management.

“It’s about managing individuals for the benefit of the team.”

Richie Smallwood will miss out tonight with a hamstring injury, said Evans, but skipper Craig Morgan is available after a ban, and loan duo Paul Taylor and Anthony Wordsworth, who couldn’t play at parent club Ipswich last Saturday, are in the frame.

One player relishing tonight’s clash is Millers left-back Joe Skarz.

Skarz revealed: “I’m a Blackburn fan. I used to go with my granddad.

“It will be a nice occasion, but all that matters to me and the rest of the lads is trying to get those three points and moving up the table.”

Blackburn will be missing Paul Robinson, Alex Baptiste, David Dunn, Jason Lowe and former Doncaster Rovers man Chris Brown through injury. Ex- Sheffield Wednesday favourite Ben Marshall could be asked to deputise at right-back for Baptiste.