Boss Matt Taylor's verdict on Tom Eaves as the fit-again Rotherham United targetman prepares to return to the squad for tomorrow's clash at Sunderland

Tom EavesTom Eaves
Tom Eaves
The hitman hasn't had the best of times since hi switch from Hull City.

HE'S the Rotherham United striker who has scored more goals at AESSEAL New York Stadium for two other teams than he has for the Millers.

Tom Eaves endured a difficult first season in South Yorkshire last term, making only six starts and 15 substitute appearances and failing to open his account for his new side.

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The hat-trick he bagged for Hull City in their 3-2 FA Cup win in January 2020 and his strike in a 3-1 League One victory for Gillingham in October 2017 remain the only times he has found the net in S60.

The 31-year-old, brought to the club from the Tigers by former boss Paul Warne last summer, is finally fit again after being unavailable since the start of pre-season because of injury and could make the squad for Saturday's trip to Sunderland.

Warne's successor, Matt Taylor, still seeking to add to his centre-forward options before the September 1 close of the transfer window, would like nothing more than for the former Bolton Wanderers and Gillingham frontman to come good.

“It's fair to say we're looking for more from Tom,” the manager said. “He'll be looking for more from himself. He'll be looking for more game-time. But those opportunities are earned, they're not just given.

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“It's been a shame because for the best part of seven weeks we haven't seen him due to his injury, which was a hangover from last season.”

Eaves picked up a hip problem around March and it lingered into the close-season break, affecting the amount of fitness work he could do before he and his teammates returned for training on June 26.

On his first day back, the 6ft 5in attacker damaged his calf and was out of action until making the squad for last week's Championship home clash with Blackburn Rovers.

“He's got to train to the best of his ability and keep pushing himself forward," Taylor said. "Then, when he gets on the pitch he's got to perform.”

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The player was a prolific hitman for Gillingham in League One but found the target only ten times in two second-tier campaigns with Hull.

The only goal the player, who has two years left on his New York deal, has ever bagged in a Rotherham shirt came in a nine-game League One loan spell ten years ago when he opened the scoring in a 2-1 Johnstone's Paint Trophy win at Hartlepool United.

Last term in the Championship, a combination of injuries and poor form meant he never enjoyed a regular run in the Championship but Taylor hasn't given up on him and believes he could still have a part to play with the Millers

“We know what Tom brings to us,” the boss said. “There's a size factor there, and his legs are under-estimated because he can run.

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“There are other aspects of his game we want to keep improving. Hopefully we can get him in a good position physically and keep adding layers on top of that.”


ROTHERHAM United have been boosted by the return to fitness of a trio of players as they gear up for Saturday's Championship test at Sunderland.

Andre Green, who has yet to play since signing a two-year contract a fortnight ago, and fellow striker Tom Eaves have trained fully this week after recovering from groin and calf problems respectively.

Centre-half Grant Hall is also in the frame to return from hamstring trouble.

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“Andre and Tom have been at full capacity and full speed,” Taylor said. “Hally is going to do that towards the end of the week. We look like we're going to be stronger than we were last weekend.”

The manager is particularly excited by the qualities former Aston Villa prospect Green will bring to the team

“He offers ‘legs’, pace, power,” Taylor said. “He's a good finisher and, technically, a good player. We now want to spend time with him on the training ground and really get him up to speed.”

Winger Fred Onyedinma sits out the match as he serves a one-match ban after being sent against Blackburn Rovers last Saturday.



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Jack Clarke started out at Leeds United and ended up permanently at Sunderland last summer after a move to Tottenham Hotspur. Still only 22, the left winger had a fine season with the Black Cats, scoring 11 times in 50 appearances and helping them to reach the Championship play-offs. He had been on loan at the Stadium Light before finalising a full move.


Sunderland: LLL

Millers: LWD

Sunderland lost 2-1 at home to Ipswich Town on opening day and by the same score at Preston North End on Saturday.


Feb 21, 2023, Championship: Millers 2 Sunderland 1

(Ollie Rathbone, Shane Ferguson)

Aug 31, 2022, Championship: Sunderland 3 Millers 0

Apr 26, 2022, League One: Sunderland 1 Millers 1

(Michael Ihiekwe)

Oct 30, 2021, League One: Millers 5 Sunderland 1

(Michael Smith 2, Freddie Ladapo 2, Michael Ihiekwe)

Sep 17, 2019, League One: Sunderland 1 Millers 1

(Jake Hastie)


Gavin Ward is in his 16th season on the EFL list. The Surrey official last took charge of a Rotherham game when Matt Taylor’s men drew 1-1 at Swansea City in a Monday-night Championship match in February. Before that, the 44-year-old handled the New Year’s Day 3-0 loss at Millwall. He is the referee who allowed a Barnsley goal to stand after a foul by Carlton Morris on Rotherham goalkeeper Viktor Johansson at Oakwell in April 2021.


It's a home win in the eyes of the bookmakers who are offering a Sunderland victory at 4/6 and a Rotherham triumph at 7/2. The draw is 13/5.