JAMES Tavernier is hoping his impressive form on-loan at Rotherham United will help secure his Newcastle United future, writes Daniel Prince.
The right-back joined the Millers on loan in November, and has been nominated for League One’s Player of the Month award for March.
He has been named on the four-man shortlist for the second time, having also been listed for January.
Rotherham are unbeaten in the league since New Year’s Day, and are now just six points off a promotion spot.
Tavernier has been at the centre of that, at both ends of the pitch.
The 22-year-old scored three times in March – two free-kicks and a superb 30-yard piledriver against Bristol City.
He is at New York Stadium along with his Newcastle team-mate Haris Vuckic, with the pair’s loan deal lasting until the summer.
Tavernier still has a year left on his contract at St James’s Park, and has described his loan spell as the best of his career so far.
The defender had earlier spent time at Gateshead, Carlisle United, Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons and Shrewsbury Town.
He said: “I’m really enjoying it here and playing a lot more games than I’ve ever done.
“When I first played here and saw the stadium I thought ‘this will be a great experience’, and that’s been the case.
“It has really helped my career and I’ve shown what I can do.
“They are a great group of lads here and the manager puts faith in us, and we are playing with more and more confidence, which is good.
“We are currently on a great run and you can see that confidence throughout the side, but it won’t become over-confidence, and the gaffer will ensure we keep our feet on the ground.”
When asked further about his future, Tavernier insisted he was only concentrating on Rotherham’s upcoming fixtures, starting with Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.
He has made 10 first-team appearances for Newcastle so far, and Tavernier’s future should become clearer in the summer.
The future of current first-choice right-back Mathieu Debuchy is uncertain, with reports continuing to link him with Paris Saint-Germain.
With Debuchy injured, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has been deployed at right-back in recent games, and has looked uncomfortable in the role.
A nightmare first-half performance against Southampton on Saturday led to the Frenchman being hauled off at half-time to be replaced by Davide Santon.