Steve Evans was in a bouyant mood as he reflected on pre-season and
Evans reflected on the past month and in particular yesterday's visit to Blue Square Premier side, Mansfield Town.
looked forward to the start of the new campaign when Rotherham United travel to Hull City next Saturday. Q - Where you satisfied with yesterday's performance and victory at Mansfield Town?
Our travelling support sang loud and proud and we all appreciated your support.
I really felt we would have been capable of stepping up another couple of gears if we had to and the win was fairly comfortable, but the lads worked hard for that ease to come. Our young trialist did well but it is not something we will be taking any further at this stage.
They have signed some excellent players and will challenge for promotion so it was always going to be a test. We changed the shape of the team and some individuals to have a look at something different and I was pleased with a lot of what we did.
The match at Mansfield Town was selected by myself two months ago as I wanted to ensure we got a real stiff test prior to the new season starting, and we got that from the game for sure.
Q - The lads have worked hard over the last month, are they now ready for the season to start?
We will go down the A1 to Stamford on Tuesday and subject to coming through that injury free we will be ready to face a massive test when we travel to the KC Stadium to face Hull City in the Capital One Cup next Saturday.
Our four home matches in ten days at the New York Stadium will stand us in good stead. We played against four very capable teams and each of them provided us with a different but real test. Almost 30,000 supporters watched us in that 10 day period and that is incredible. May I thank every Millers supporter who turned out, your support is incredible!
The squad we have in place has so much ability but we need the three key characteristics to come out week in and week out; they are effort, passion and commitment.
Those players who were with us last season are fitter for sure and those that have joined us in the summer tell us they are too so we have a great base to work from. Our testing of the players show the lads are ready and they can be proud of how hard they have worked over the last month.
The fitness levels in the squad are excellent and the sharpness of the players is almost there, we now have a week to make that happen but we are right on schedule.
Q - You have hinted for a few weeks that we may make another signing or two, are you still looking to add to the squad?
As important as signing players we have to keep our best players and when young Ben Pringle is in his current form we are always going to have interest. I was delighted to tell two managers this week that young 'Prings' is going not going anywhere.
First let me say I am delighted with what we have in place and we are ready to start the season next week. However, there are a couple of players who are very much on my radar and there are funds available to make those signings but as we sit this morning I am waiting to hear back from their respective managers.
Q - We know you insist your teams always play with lots of commitment and you have cited the GB Olympics team as a perfect example?
I need my players to have the same determination to succeed as each of those gifted athletes I have named. I look at Paul Goodison in particular, a man who was fighting the pain barrier to compete and at times in the season ahead I will need my players to do that for sure.
For all the right reasons those special GB athletes who earned gold medals will get all the attention, but as a manager I look a little deeper than that. I need to look no further than the town of Rotherham who have the likes of Amy Oliver, Fran Leighton, Paul Goodison, Joe Roebuck and Becky Turner all competing at the premier level of sport.
The press have headlined yesterday as 'Super Saturday' after the GB Olympic team produced a special day. Jessica Ennis, 'WOW', what can I add that has not already been said or written but for me it is the sheer effort, passion and commitment that every member of the team has given.
Q - We start in earnest next Saturday at Hull City and I know you are hoping for a big Millers following, have you a message for the fans? Win, lose or draw, I want our supporters to leave the ground every week believing the team has given them everything they have. The fans like me can forgive a bad pass, a poor pass and even poor performances but again like me they cannot forgive a lack of effort or desire. Tthat simply is not an option.
We will need all the help and support we can get next Saturday but together we can make things happen. The supporters had the New York Stadium bouncing in our home pre-season matches and I have no doubt it will go up a notch when the real action starts so hopefully as many as possible will travel to Hull next Saturday.
Our supporters have been brilliant since the first day I joined and as the Chairman knows if it was not for their passion and support levels I would never have come to Rotherham United.
Next Saturday will be very tough. I was with Steve Bruce last week and I know he is confident of having a good season. He has signed some quality players and they are clearly targeting to challenge for a place in the Premiership so from that alone we know the size of the task in hand.
Our squad has lots of ability but that will never shine unless we match and beat our opponents’ efforts and desire; that is the challenge we will face in most of the weeks ahead. We are Rotherham United, let us work together to take this great football club, supported by great supporters to a level of football it should be at; but remember, we all need to earn it.