Rotherham United: Wary Evans’ Pat on the back for rival strike ace

MK Dons Patrick Bamford has notched 11 goals this season.
MK Dons Patrick Bamford has notched 11 goals this season.
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Steve Evans, the Rotherham United manager, has warned his team to beware of Patrick Bamford as they look to maintain their unbeaten away record at MK Dons tomorrow.

Bamford, on loan from Premier League heavyweights Chelsea until the New Year, has plundered 11 goals in 15 appearances for the Dons this season, including five in his last four starts. Along with David Mooney, the 20-year-old is joint second top-scorer in the division.

Evans is acutely aware of Bamford’s goal-scoring exploits and has hatched a plan to keep the youngster quiet.

The Scot joked: “I think we will kidnap him and put him on a bus to Southend for the day!”

“But joking aside, he is well, well regarded at Chelsea and I know their backroom staff think very highly of him.

“He is an exceptional young player who is a goal-scorer.

“He has got good movement. The nice thing about him is that he has gone away under the radar and is getting on with his job. He is terrific, terrific player.”

Saturday will be the first time in Evans’ managerial career he has taken a team to stadium:mk.

The Dons, managed by Karl Robinson, who has been linked this week with the vacant managerial post at Sheffield United, sit two places and three points below the Millers in the table. They have yet to taste defeat at home this season but have lost their last three matches in all competitions.

“MK Dons have a got a stunning stadium and training ground,” said Evans. “Their chairman Pete Winkelman is the Tony Stewart of MK Dons. He has built the stadium and put millions into the club.

“They are equal to any team in terms of passing and moving the ball in League One. They have got exceptional movement, especially at home. They play a difficult system to combat in a 4-2-3-1 formation. They will never change.

“They have got Luke Chadwick who is quite exceptional and he seems to have struck up a wonderful understanding with the young man on loan from Chelsea, who just can’t stop scoring.”

The Millers boss believes the speculation regarding Robinson’s future will not affect the Dons performance.

Evans said: “Karl [Robinson] has been linked with 10 to 15 jobs over the last couple of years and he has consistently got them in and around the play-offs and I think they have been unfortunate at times not to go beyond that.

“I think Karl has done a great job. They are a proper team and they have built that over four to five years. I know Karl thinks this could be their season.

“They are a similar club in terms of size to us. It will be another real benchmark for us. They are a quality side. They lost recently to Peterborough but they tore them to shreds that day and were unfortunate to get beaten. They lost a bit of a derby with Stevenage last week so they will be smarting from that. They are a decent side. We respect them but we don’t fear them.

“We are going to have be in their faces. We know the talent and ability they have got. We can’t go there and stand off them. They are a better team than Swindon. They will finish higher in the league than Swindon.”

Evans said there has been plenty of “soul-searching” this week in the wake of their 4-0 humbling to Swindon. He said Northern Ireland international Michael O’Connor is nearing full fitness after shaking off a groin problem and could feature versus the Dons. Claude Davis and David Worrall remain sidelined.