STEVE EVANS may have been more active in the transfer market than virtually all of his Championship counterparts, but he insists the ‘old guard’ are still at the centre of his thoughts.
The Millers chief, whose side call in at Bournemouth today, has brought in 18 players since the end of May, crowned by the addition of Luciano Becchio and club record signing Jonson Clarke-Harris just before the closure of the summer transfer window.
But despite the new look of his line-up, a few promotion heroes from the last two seasons remain, with Evans delighted by their transition to the second-tier.
He said: “A lot of people have stepped up and embraced it. I watched Kari Arnason live on television for Iceland on Tuesday and there was not a better player on the pitch and he was playing with us in League Two.
“Craig Morgan has stepped up, so has (Ben) Pringle, (Alex) Revell and (Lee) Frecklington. These are lads that we think highly of, but they have to prove it every game.”
Evans certainly has an embarrassment of riches in terms of striking options, with Becchio and Clarke-Harris added to the mix and he is confident both will make a predatory impact, although he admits the former is lacking match sharpness, having not played regular football for the best part of 18 months.
Evans said: “Luciano is not at the fitness and sharpness levels we would like him to be. But it certainly does not mean he is not going to start on Saturday.
“He has already demonstrated very early that he is a goalscorer who can hold the play up and bring people into play. He is everything we know from what he did at Leeds.”
And on Clarke-Harris, he added: “He is a lovely kid, but we don’t forget what he is. But he has a man’s physique and will play a big part and score a lot of goals for us, I am sure.”