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Frustrating Jordan Bowery needs to go and find his fight in order to save Millers career

A £250,000 price tag, six goals, 32 appearances off the bench and a whole lot of frustration. That has been Jordan Bowery's time at Rotherham.

The 24-year-old, who was a club-record signing when joining from Aston Villa in the summer of 2014, has to be one of the most underwhelming transfer deals the Millers have ever done.

And now his time in South Yorkshire looks like it is coming to an end after he joined Bradford on loan until January last Friday.

His move away comes after a considerable amount of bench-warming and a failure to win over two different managers.

One took the hard line with him, trying to light the fire in his belly with ranting and raving, and the other took the softly-softly approach in a bid to coax out his ability. Neither paid dividends.

Just 12 starts in a season and a third tells its own story and he scored six goals in that time.

Only one of those goals came when he started and rarely did he contribute when handed a shirt in the starting XI.

His final act in a Millers shirt – for now at least – encapsulated his entire 18 months at the club.

Trailing 1-0 at Middlesbrough going into the final 10 minutes, Bowery, having come on as a sub, capitalised on a mistake and went clean through. His first touch gave him an angle to close in on goal but such was his lack of confidence, his next touch took him towards the corner flag and his subsequent shot from an acute angle ended up going high and wide.

When he broke clear at the Riverside, not one person of a Rotherham persuasion will have truly expected him to score.

It was supposed to be different. Bowery arrived in South Yorkshire as the poster boy of an era the Millers hadn’t enjoyed before as they prepared to do battle in the Championship on the back of some considerable financial backing.

Joining from Villa at the time for more money than the club had ever paid for a player before, he was supposed to spearhead the attack.

Millers fans had a right to be expectant. He had joined Villa as a highly-rated prospect from Chesterfield and then-boss Steve Evans was quick to build him up.

“He is a workhorse with good technique and he has outstanding ability in the air,” Evans said when he arrived.

“He is also very quick and if people thought that Kieran Agard was quick then wait until you see Jordan Bowery in full stride.

“He isn’t just quick over a distance, he is sharp in short bursts as well, very similar to what Nouha Dicko did for us in League One, and we are hoping Jordan can deliver that for us in The Championship.”

That glowing reference never manifested itself into a run of performances and understandably Evans did not feel compelled to give him a run of games. In a cut and thrust league where the Millers found themselves up against it, Bowery was often a passenger they could ill-afford.

Yet among the countless anonymous appearances, we were given glimpses of what Bowery was about and there was hope he could come good.

He always looked more effective coming off the bench, and did score some important goals.

And as last season wore on he began to make more of an impact, with a cameo against Norwich in particular that had us licking our lips.

That raised expectations that this year would be the one that Bowery would come good and his performances in pre-season only heightened that hope.

His goalscoring performance in the 2-1 friendly win over Bundesliga outfit Mainz was arguably his best in a Millers shirt as he showed a direct and physical approach that had the German side scared.

But he was not able to take that into the season, not helped by being played in a wide left position, and after he came off in the 0-0 draw with Preston, Evans appeared to wash his hands of him as he did not feature again in the Scot’s final month at the Millers helm.

He came back into the squad under new manager Neil Redfearn, who tried to put his arm around him in an attempt to get the best out of him, but after that miss against Middlesbrough there appeared no way back.

Bowery clearly possesses attributes that have potential to make him into a very good footballer. He’s tall and quick and is built just like you’d want a striker to be built.

But there is something missing. For a man with such a physique he has proved to be far too weak and more often than not, he has been bullied out of it by hardened Championship defenders.

You can have all the ability in the world, but if there’s not that fire in the belly, the desire to go out and put your body on the line, then that is wasted. And with Bowery, up until now, it’s been wasted.

Some people have that fire and some people just don’t.

That lack of grit and nastiness is highlighted by the lack of cards he received during his time at the Millers. In his 44 appearances, he only picked up one sanction - a red card against Middlesbrough for violent conduct and even that was rescinded after replays showed he was trying to get away from conflict rather than get involved in it.

While that is commendable, it says something about him as a person and player and Alan Lee - a player with similar credentials - picked up 11 yellow cards and two reds in his first 44 appearances for the Millers.

The hope is that he can go to Valley Parade, enjoy a run of games and somehow discover a motivation and nasty streak that he undoubtedly needs to allow his assets to shine through.

If he doesn’t then a revival of his Millers career looks unlikely.

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