Steve Evans gives his thoughts on the burning issues regarding the Millers.
We spoke to Steve Evans this morning after yesterday’s defeat on penalties at Championship Hull City and that seemed the ideal place to start this week’s exclusive feature.
What were your thoughts on yesterday's match at Hull City in the Capital One Cup?
I do not think you will find one person inside the KC Stadium in Hull Yesterday who will think we did not deserve to win, we were by some distance the better team.
My players and staff gave me everything I could ask for and if we can repeat that performance level for most of the matches in the season ahead then we will have a fine season in what is going to be a very tough League Two.
It took us around 20 minutes to get settled but once the lads did that they took control of the ball and some of our play was exceptional. Our supporters, who travelled in big numbers, obviously liked what they saw and they backed the team vocally for the full match, the support we got was fantastic, a big thank you to every one of them.
I must admit I struggled to understand why young Kieran Agard was denied a penalty during the first period of extra-time. I am not questioning the integrity of the match referee, he normally is excellent, but I think he got this one wrong. I must admit I come in to work this morning feeling aggrieved but knowing it is time to move on and focus only on Burton Albion.
You had to withdraw Laurence Wilson early in the match, what was his problem and do you know how long he will be out of action?
Willo took a knock to his ankle after a strong but fair tackle early in the match. He tried to get through but in the end he had to accept he was struggling to continue. The lad is in this morning but in all probability it will be tomorrow before we know if the lad will miss a few days or weeks.
In my management career I have never known three full-backs to be injured at the same time, let’s hope it’s a knock he can recover from quickly.
Should I have to recruit a full-back then that is something I could do very quickly as we already have a few names who could do us a good job. As a precaution I will make some telephone calls to a few managers today to check on the availability of those that we would be interested in.
The only other knock we picked up yesterday was a kick on the foot to Gareth Evans, like Willo, the lad is in this morning for analysis and we will again know more tomorrow when his foot has settled down.
Talking of players in, are you still looking to recruit or re-shape some in the squad?
I have said many times in the last couple of weeks I would like to add another striker and left sided defender and even allowing for Willo taking a knock that is still the situation. I must admit we have good cover in the squad we have built for all eventualities but it really is being tested now in the full-back area.
Last week we lost out to Sheffield United for striker Nick Blackman who joined the Blades from Blackburn Rovers. I first came across the lad when he was on loan in the SPL with Motherwell, Danny Wilson has signed a very good young player.
As we sit this morning we are in discussions with one club about a transfer fee which would obviously bring in a striker on a permanent basis and we are always discussing another player who would be a six month or season long loan signing, so let us see where all that goes in the next few days.
I really am pleased with the squad we have in place, they are a talented group and I look forward to working with them in the season ahead. It will be a long and difficult journey but we are ready for it. Our fitness levels, as the lads showed at Hull City yesterday, are excellent and that gives us a terrific base to build on.
Have you decided on who will be your Captain for the new season?
As I said a few weeks ago I want our supporters and my players and staff to have an input into this but I obviously have certain characteristics and thoughts on who I believe it should be, I am sure.
I have given several players the Captains armband in pre-season but I told the players I would ultimately select the man for the job prior to the opening league fixture at home to Burton Albion next Saturday.
For me the Captain should come from one of four men in the squad and they are as follows but in no particular order, Johnny Mullins, Ian Sharps, Nicky Hunt and Kari Arnason.
Each of the lads I have named could do the job but getting to know them, I believe, they would all do the job and with great pride. Our official website will host a poll starting tomorrow and close on Thursday for the captaincy so please take a turn to vote if you have a preferred man and I will take the views of my staff and players over the next few days, I want to get this decision right because I really do see it as an important role.
We start our League Two season next Saturday at home to Burton Albion, what are you expecting?
Without doubt a really tough match. Albion went to Sheffield United and deservedly won by all accounts so it tells you about the quality of player they have signed in the close season.
I expect them to have a fine season, they have a good manager in Gary Rowett and his Chairman is obviously backing him when you look in detail at their squad which has been put together.
It looks like we will have a sell out next Saturday, our supporters are just incredible for sure. We all want a great season and to take this football club to a higher level but we will all need to earn it.
Despite some other clubs spending big amounts on players we have been given the favourites tags for promotion. I can say now it will be a long and difficult journey, we will be the scalp they all want.
We have been given a real tough run of opening fixtures; our credentials are going to be tested very early on and off the pitch, let us be as one and deliver what we need to do.