Rotherham United: Hard work just beginning for Millers ace Jonson Clarke-Harris

Jonson Clarke-Harris
Jonson Clarke-Harris

In-form striker Jonson Clarke-Harris has grabbed the first-team chance handed to him by Rotherham United boss Steve Evans.

But the young hot-shot, who has scored twice in his last three matches while showing the best form of his Millers career, knows his real challenge has only just begun.

“Staying in is even tougher than getting in,” said the 21-year-old, a likely starter at Charlton Athletic on Saturday when Evans’ side return to action after the international break.

“I’ve got to keep working hard, training hard and scoring goals.”

Clarke-Harris, Rotherham’s record signing when he joined from Oldham Athletic in August last year, looked to be heading out of the club after failing to make the squad for the opening Championship games of the season.

But he has responded to some straight talking from manager Evans and has been at the top of his game since being introduced as a substitute against Preston on August 18. Three subsequent starts have brought impressive performances and top-class goals against QPR and Fulham.

Evans has talked of the pair’s “daily chats”, and Clarke-Harris says the honesty of his boss has played a major part in his transformation.

“I do knock on The Gaffer’s door. I want to be helped,” he admitted. “He says ‘you got to work hard, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that’. He’s straight up with me. That’s how I prefer it, absolutely. Straight up. No lies. As it is.”

Former Millers teammmate Ben Pringle saw first hand how dangerous Clarke-Harris can be when he returned to AESSEAL New York Stadium with new club Fulham in the last match before the two-week window.

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Pringle said: “He is a presence. He will always give a 100 per cent. He is going to unsettle defenders and give them a hard time.

“He’s a big lad, he’s strong and he’s quick and, when you see some of his goals, his technique is good.”

Meanwhile, Rotherham expect Joe Mattock to be available for Saturday’s Addicks clash after the left-back returned from injury to play for an hour in the reserves’ 5-0 win over Gateshead on Tuesday.

Assistant boss Paul Raynor said: “We were always planning on giving Joe 60 minutes. He’s come through a couple of days’ training and it was good to get him out there and get him an hour of football under his belt. Assuming there’s no reaction from Joe, he should be fit and available for the weekend.”