Steve Evans hopes Jonson Clarke-Harris’s arrival at Doncaster Rovers will boost the club’s chances of rubbing shoulders with Rotherham United in the Championship.
The 20-year-old Millers striker – who was the club’s record signing when he arrived from Oldham Athletic for £400,000 last summer – has joined the League One side on a youth loan, which extends to a possible play-off final at the end of May. Rovers occupy the final play-off spot, in sixth place, and Millers manager Evans insists he would not have allowed Clarke-Harris – who had a loan spell at MK Dons earlier this year – to have joined a mid-table club.
“I wouldn’t have sent him out to a club whose season was petering out. To a club who were looking to chop and change and see where they were going for next season,” ,” said Evans
“That’s not what the development of Jonson is about. Hence, why we have allowed the loan deal to go until the end of May, to cover the event that, hopefully, Doncaster reach the play-off final.
“They are a local rival to us, but they are a South Yorkshire club and we want them to be successful.
“He had the opportunity to join a couple of clubs, one nearby where I have an excellent relationship with the manager, a team fighting for the play-offs. That was a simple decision.
“He’s joined a good club, a good manager in Paul Dickov, and I think he will add something that they have not got.
“It’s about game-time and development, he’s only 20 years old, and we feel it’s right he just plays football.
“He’s been asking to play at 3pm on a Saturday, and he’s going through a huge learning curve at this time. That can be a really good move, for both Doncaster Rovers and Jono.”
The Millers – who also yesterday allowed defender Matt Sadler to join Oldham on loan – can recall the striker, if needed, after 28 days.
“If Doncaster were fighting for the play-offs, and we were secure and doing okay in the Championship, then I would try and help a local club,” added Evans.
Clarke-Harris has shown glimpses of his potential for the Millers, famously firing in the winning goal moments after coming off the substitutes’ bench in the televised 2-1 derby victory over Leeds United in October 17.