What comes next for Dillon Phillips when Viktor Johansson leaves Rotherham United

Dillon Phillips in action for Rotherham United in the penultimate match of the season at Bristol City. Picture: Jim BrailsfordDillon Phillips in action for Rotherham United in the penultimate match of the season at Bristol City. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Dillon Phillips in action for Rotherham United in the penultimate match of the season at Bristol City. Picture: Jim Brailsford
DILLON Phillips will be given the chance to stake his claim for a Rotherham United starting role after spending nearly all of his first season with the club on the bench.

The 28-year-old goalkeeper has been the understudy to Viktor Johansson who is set to depart AESSEAL New York Stadium because of a release clause in his contract that allows him to leave for around £1 million now that the Millers have been relegated from the Championship.

Phillips played in only four matches but new manager Steve Evans believes he is capable of holding down a regular place in the first team.

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“Dillon is a number one,” said the boss who returned for a second spell at New York three weeks ago. “He just ran into Johansson who is a number one with star, star, star beside it.”

Dillon Phillips in action for Rotherham United in the penultimate match of the season at Bristol City. Picture: Jim BrailsfordDillon Phillips in action for Rotherham United in the penultimate match of the season at Bristol City. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Dillon Phillips in action for Rotherham United in the penultimate match of the season at Bristol City. Picture: Jim Brailsford

With Swedish international Johansson virtually certain to be sold, the Millers plan to sign another shot-stopper to challenge Phillips as part of their preparations for life in League One next term.

Evans said: "We will bring in a really competent goalkeeper and we will say to Dillon: ‘It's game on for the shirt.’ Dillon accepts and understands that.”

The former Cardiff City man was named in the side for two League Cup ties early in the campaign when Matt Taylor was still in charge and then played in the final two second-tier fixtures because Evans wanted to assess as many members of the squad as possible.

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He performed well in both of those matches, a 2-0 loss at Bristol City and a 5-2 home win over Cardiff.

“He was made up when I told him I was going to play him in the last two games,” Evans said. “He wanted an opportunity.”

Phillips, whose previous teams include Charlton Athletic and Cheltenham Town, moved to Rotherham last summer on a two-year deal after parting company with Cardiff.

He is an experienced keeper and has nearly 200 senior outings under his belt.

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