Rotherham United fought off interest from rival Championship clubs to bring young centre-half Farrend Rawson back to AESSEAL New York Stadium, boss Steve Evans has revealed.
The Millers, who are away to Nottingham Forest this afternoon, announced the capture of Rawson on a six-month loan last month, but the 19-year-old arrived from Derby County only this week after needing time to recover from a groin strain.
Rawson impressed during a loan spell last season and Evans is delighted to see the return of a youngster he believes could go on to play in the Premier League.
“The big fella is here,” Evans confirmed. “He could have gone to three or four other clubs in the Championship and a couple at the top end of League one.
“He enjoyed his time here last season and he’s looking forward to being part of it again. He had a little niggle in pre-season in his groin which is fine now.”
Rawson, who joined up with Rotherham on Tuesday and played for 60 minutes in a private practice match on Wednesday, will quickly be in the frame to add to his four Millers appearances last term.
“If you Farrend Rawson, you’re almost in contention straight away,” Evans said.
The Millers manager is still demanding more from Jordan Bowery, even though the striker scored the winner in a rare start in the midweek Capital One Cup win over Cambridge United.
Evans wants to see a meaner, more physical edge to the 24-year-old’s game and said: “I don’t think he was as effective as he should have been the other night. What he did was put in an excellent header after making a great run.
“But did he win enough headers? Did he hold the ball up well enough? Did he run in behind the channels? Did he get a hold of the ball? No. Can he do a lot better? Yes.
“But if you’re named on the teamsheet and you’re a striker and you score a goal you always feel you’ve made a contribution.”
Rotherham haven’t beaten Forest since September 1956 - a league and cup sequence of 18 matches - and haven’t won at the City Ground since April 1955.
We’ve not won there, I’m told, since 1955,” Evans said. “We’ve broken a lot of records in my three years here. We’d like to break this one.
“We’re all under pressure in football, and they’re under pressure to get a result. They lost to Brighton and then they’ve lost in the cup, so they’ll see us coming an opportunity for them to get winning. But we see it as an opportunity for us to go and win.”