Boss Steve Evans is sticking by goalkeeper Kelle Roos, accusing people of over-analysing the Dutch shot-stopper’s debut for Rotherham United.
The 23-year-old shipped four goals on Championship opening day as the Millers lost at home to MK Dons, but Evans says he will start tonight at AESSEAL New York Stadium against Cambridge United in the Capital One Cup.
The Millers manager pointed the finger at his side’s defending in the build-up to the goals and said a spell of dodgy kicking was to blame for 6ft 5in Roos being under the spotlight.
“I don’t think by any stretch that he was our worst performer,” Evans said. “I think there was a lot worse defending in front of him. I’ll say now, he will play on Tuesday night, don’t worry about that. He’s a good goalkeeper.
With Rotherham trailing 3-1, Roos failed to make a clean connection on several clearances before recovering his poise in the second half.
“He had a few passes back that go to his wrong side and he ‘sclaffs’ them away,“ Evans said. “It probably has people looking at his performance more than they should.
“The goalkeeper should do better for the fourth goal. But the first three goals ... it would be harsh to blame my goalkeeper for those. The quality of the defending in front of him is not very good.
“The first goal, he gets a hand on the ball but it gets a ricochet and it falls for them. The second goal, the ball gets fizzed across the goal and Danny Collins deflects it and it ricochets between Kelle’s legs and crawls over the line. It’s really cruel.
“If you make the mistakes we made, you’re going to concede. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t block the near post when crosses are coming in and let people across you in the box, the opposition are going to take their chance.
“You don’t write a goalkeeper off, or defenders, or midfield players or attackers on one bad day at the office.”
Evans says he will make changes for tonight’s knockout clash, which will go to extra time and possibly penalties if the scores are level at the end of normal time and sees a quick return to New York for former Rotherham midfielder Conor Newton.
The 23-year-old joined League Two Cambridge in pre-season after Rotherham cancelled his contract halfway through his two-year deal and he is expected to be in the U’s line-up tonight.
“Conor is a lovely young man. He had some off-the-field issues that he had to personally deal with, which probably came at a key stage for us with him,” Evans said,
“Round the turn of the year to the end of last season, when we were looking to pick a team and make it effective, for different reasons that aren’t attributed to football we couldn’t really get round to picking him.
“He’ll do very well at Cambridge. Listen, he’s never a League Two player. We didn’t think he was a Championship player - and there was commonality among our management team on that - but he’s a top League One player.”
Meanwhile, Evans believes striker Matt Derbyshire could reach the 20-goal mark if he stays fit this season.
Derbyshire opened his account with a good header against the Dons, having scored a wonder-goal in the Millers final pre-season friendly, a week earlier, against Bundesliga outfit FSV Mainz 05.
Evans said: “I think if you play Matt Derbyshire in the majority of games he’ll get you 20 goals.
“Matt will miss a chance. Do you know why he’ll miss a chance? Because he’s prepared to get in there and get on the end of a chance. There’ll be some days when it will go in for the kid and some days when it won’t.
“Matt is a top-class striker in the Championship, for sure.”
The Millers could hear later this week whether a Premier League club will sanction a loan deal for one of their young players, while Evans has pledged more business will be done before the end of the transfer window.