Rotherham United: Millers’ bid to unlock Clarke-Harris talent

Jonson Clarke-Harris
Jonson Clarke-Harris
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Rotherham United are giving striker Jonson Clarke-Harris extra coaching sessions in a bid to help the youngster realise his full potential.

The 21-year-old, who could start at Reading tomorrow night as the Millers continue their battle for Championship safety, has blown hot and cold this season.

Leon Best

Leon Best

And coach Kevin Blackwell, who joined new manager Neil Warnock at AESSEAL New York Stadium after Neil Redfearn was sacked, revealed: “Since I’ve been here, the lad’s been out in the afternoons. That’s what a coach should do. He should be out working with players.

“Just to see Jonson’s attitude, wanting to come out and work in the afternoons, is a big plus.”

Blackwell managed Clarke-Harris at Bury and says the forward needs to improve his tactical awareness.

“Barry Fry gave me him (from Peterborough) and just said: ‘Look, this kid can do anything but he’s doing nothing.’ I took him and we sold him within four or five months for £400,000.

“If this kid can wake up to what the responsibilities of his role are then he has a massive future. His understanding of the game - when and where and how to do it - that’s Jonno’s problem and has always been his problem.”

Fellow striker Leon Best is set for a second outing from the bench after making his comeback from groin surgery in last Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Burnley.

“Besty was quite effective when he came on,” Blackwell said. “Anyone we can add to the bench to make things better for us and who will cause the opposition problems is a strength for us.

“He’s clearly nowhere near doing a 90 minutes but if he can come on and give us 15 or 20 minutes at a point in the game when defenders are perhaps starting to tire then hopefully his quality will come to the fore.”

Left-back Joe Mattock and centre-half Richard Wood are eligible after bans, although Wood is nursing a slight hamstring niggle, but tomorrow’s game will come too soon for Lee Frecklington, said Blackwell, although the midfielder is back in training.

Attacker Danny Ward will miss out if doctors confirm he suffered concussion at Burnley.

Defender Lloyd Doyley, who played his first match of the season at Turf Moor, may not be risked so soon after last Saturday’s clash, while central defender Aimen Belaid has work to do on his fitness.

Striker Luciano Becchio is running again after a calf problem but no timescale has been placed on his recovery.

Loan centre-half Farrend Rawson has been recalled by parent club Derby County.

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