Attacking full-back James Tavernier is backing Rotherham United to flourish in the Championship next season - with or without him.
Steve Evans’ men secured their return to the second tier of English football after a nine-year absence by defeating Leyton Orient 4-3 on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw in Sunday’s League One Play-off Final at Wembley.
To mark the achievement, the players and backroom staff enjoyed an open-top bus parade through Rotherham town centre yesterday.
Tavernier, on loan from Newcastle United, told The Star: “Rotherham have got great backing off the chairman and the board and a great coaching staff.
“I think they will add quality to areas that they need to. I think they are a club on the up. Back-to-back promotions just proves that it’s a progressive club and they will go really far.
“I think they will make a real statement in the Championship. Anything can happen. We’ve seen Yeovil go up and then come back down but I believe Rotherham can make themselves a steady Championship team.”
Tavernier, who has previously represented Sheffield Wednesday on loan, is poised to return to his parent club.
The 22-year-old is contracted to Newcastle until 2015 but has hinted he would be interested in a permanent switch to New York Stadium.
“I’ve been at Newcastle a long time; I will have a conversation with them, see what’s got to be said and take it from there,” he said.
“You can’t complain playing in the Championship week in, week out. It’s a great level.
“Rotherham are going in the right direction. It’s a club which has been on the up ever since I came in and just kept on progressing. It all comes down to Newcastle and Rotherham if anything can be done. I’ve loved it here and the fans have been terrific. We will see what happens.”
Evans hopes to hang on to Tavernier, who has produced a number of impressive performances at right-back and chipped in with some vital goals.
The Millers chief said: “Tavs is such a good lad and he’s made it clear that if it can be worked out then he’d love to stay, but we have to respect that he is still Alan Pardew’s player up at Newcastle.”
Tavernier regards helping Rotherham go up as one of the highlights of his career.
He said: “To play at Wembley and win a play-off final is definitely up there. I will always remember this moment. It’s fantastic for the club, me personally and the fans.
“Rotherham has been the best loan spell I’ve ever had. It’s the most I’ve played in a team. Regular football has brought the best out of me.”
He says the squad still believed they would prevail in the final even when they trailed 2-0 at half-time.
“We don’t do things the easy way but we have shown a great spirit in the team all season,” he added.