Neil Redfearn says he has won the respect of Rotherham United’s players because they know he’s prepared to battle for them.
The Millers squad has responded well to the new manager since he took charge earlier this month.
And the 50-year-old, who takes his side to Derby County this afternoon, said: “The most important thing is that the players see that you’re strong in your beliefs, that you’re on their side. And I am. I’m 120 per cent on their side.
“They know that I’ll fight their corner. And I’ll fight the corner of the club, for the chairman, Tony Stewart, and everything he’s done.
Redfearn, looking to make loan signings to help steer the club away from the bottom three of the Championship. needs time to make his mark, but knows the importance of putting points on the board as soon as possible.
“What we don’t want to do now is take too far a step back because we want to progress,” he said. “We want to be a proper Championship side that really goes and threatens. We’re right at the beginning of this process. Sometimes it doesn’t smell too sweet. But we’ve got to be strong.”
His first three matches have yielded only a point, against Reading, but he has been encouraged by what he has seen from the players he inherited from previous boss Steve Evans.
“We’ve done okay. We haven’t had the results to back it up, but we’ve had the performances,” he said. “If you look at what’s happened previously, the 10 games before, it’s a trend. If you look at last season, fourth from bottom, just scraped up, it’s not going to be a miracle cure.
“It about hard work, it’s about planning, it’s about building a team that’s going to go and challenge in the Championship. What we have got to do is make sure we are in touch with the sides that are round us. I think that is important.”
Redfearn singled out Jonson Clare-Harris for praise, but believes the young striker would benefit from the arrival of loan reinforcements.
“When I say some of the boys need a bit of help, he’s probably a prime example. He probably needs a little bit of help, an experienced player up there with him,” he said. “Matty Derbyshire need someone up there to take the pressure off too. When you’ve got competition for places, it helps the boys who are here already.
“There’s been a lot of pressure on Jonson and on Matt to be the main strikers. Other than that, you’re looking at Jordan Bowery, who has come off the bench, and after that you’re looking at Chris Maguire who is perhaps more of a No 10.
“Jonson is 21 years old and we’re asking him to lead the line and be the main man, which is a really big ask. But I have to say that against Sheffield Wednesday I thought he was different class.
“Steve Clarke (manager) came in after the Reading game and said that’s the most his centre-halves have been knocked about. Jonson was the main threat. He is doing himself no harm.”