STEVE EVANS has hailed Matt Derbyshire after the forward has turned his season around in eye-catching fashion at Rotherham United.
Derbyshire could not buy a Championship goal in the first half of the season and the Millers boss admits that the striker was at a real low point earlier this term, with many fans also quick to criticise his lack of potency in no uncertain terms.
But the ex-Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest forward has not looked back since netting his first league goal for the Millers in the 4-2 win over Bolton Wanderers on January 27.
Derbyshire has struck seven league goals in 2015, with his latest one in Monday’s vital win over Brighton taking the Millers to the cusp of safety with five games to go.
Evans, whose decision to persevere with Derbyshire in tough times has reaped a dividend, said: “He got pretty low and I said to him maybe he is just over-analysing, because strikers tend to snatch at things and I think we all saw after that first goal against Bolton what was going to happen and he’s done it.
“He is a super lad who cares. Outwardly, he’s a very confident boy, but around me, on a personal basis, he needs to be reassured all the time.
“I always knew Matt was a good player and a goalscorer. I really felt for the kid earlier in the season because some of the chances he was missing were really unthinkable for Matt.
“But he now looks a real handful and there’’s not a manager in recent weeks who has not said they would not like to work with him.
“His movement is terrific and energy and work-rate for the team is fantastic.
“He now looks capable of taking a chance.”
The Millers have recalled experienced centre-half Richard Wood from a loan spell at Crawley to cover their defensive bases between now and May 2.
Jonson-Clarke Harris, currently at South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers, is also likely to be recalled after this weekend’s action.
On the situation with Clarke-Harris, Evans added: “We will have a look at it after Middlesbrough.
“We noticed he didn’t play the other night and he came off the bench and we think he should be playing.
“It might be a case of wanting to bring him back in house.
“If we feel he’s got one fraction of a chance of making a difference to us, we have to bring him back.”