Rotherham United: Millers boss tackles O’Connor issue

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Millers manager Steve Evans says there are no issues over N.Ireland international midfielder Michael O’Connor.

“He’s one of our top players but he has to get in the team and stay in,” said Evans.

Michael O'Connor

Michael O'Connor

There has been speculation about why O’Connor - who was a first choice at the start of the season - has mainly been on the bench for the past month or so but Evans said there were no issues despite things “flying about” (as he put it) on social media and forums.

“If Michael O’Connor wants a new contract what does he have to do?,” said Evans. “Well, get in the team to start with.

“If he does, then fine because he is a good player but do you want to give anyone a contract who is not in the team? That goes for anyone else too. Like anyone else, if you’re in the team, on the ball and at it, then with that comes remuneration.

“We do a check on the playing percentage, in terms of minutes played, throughout the season. At 60 per cent and above you’re playing a major part but below that - and a lot of clubs do it - then you look at the value. Mickey was unlucky to be injured on international duty but he is at 37 per cent in terms of game time.

“He hasn’t been in the last five or six games because of the form of Richard Smallwood or Rob Milsom. Mickey knows that when he gets in, he has to grab that place and keep it and I’ve told him that.”

He has started only one of the last 13 games. That was at Port Vale, arguably the poorest team display so far.

They could be unchanged today at Colchester.