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Gaffer on a Sunday

26 August 2012

Steve Evans talks to for his Gaffer on a Sunday column.

We caught up with Steve Evans as he reflected on yesterday's share of the spoils away at local rivals Chesterfield and a tough week in general plus other key points.

Now you have had a chance to look at the key highlights of yesterday's 1-1 draw at Chesterfield, what are your thoughts the morning after?

First let me say it was my first Rotherham United derby, the occasion was brilliant and for me the match had everything deserving except us winning of course.

This morning I remain mystified as to why Lionel Ainsworth first half strike was ruled out for handball. None of the assistant referees have seen anything and neither did anyone on the Chesterfield bench or indeed the home end of the ground where the goal was scored. 

For the second match in a row we have come up against an inspired goalkeeping performance, Tommy Lee made some outstanding saves whereby, and I stand to be corrected, Scott Shearer blocked an early shot, apart from that he did not have a save to make.

After their opening goal when Scott Shearer slipped over, we showed some fantastic character. Our quality of play in the second half was again top class and we moved the ball around in a real positive way. Chesterfield are a decent team, they have good players and supporters so this was always going to be a tough test but I felt we dealt with it.

I had no option other than to play Kari Arnason in central defence as Johnny Mullins was just short of being fit to start such a competitive match. In my opinion we miss big Arny in the middle of the park although I have to say he was again outstanding at the back. 

In relation to injuries do you expect Johnny Mullins to be fully fit for the visit of Bradford City next Saturday?

The lad has some bruising around the knee joint and was always going to be a little sore and that was not what we needed yesterday but I would expect him and several others to play a part and come through our reserve match at home to Bury on Tuesday. I want all those players to show me they want a starting shirt in our match with Bradford on Saturday. The reserve match will be played at Parkgate with a 3pm kick-off and all supporters are welcome.

The transfer window closes in the week ahead, do you expect to be doing any business?

I am hopeful that we can do some business but as I have maintained if we are going to add to the squad it needs to be players who can add to what we have and not just more of the same. It may not look like it from outside but Rotherham United are working really hard in relation to two specific players.

Last week I took several calls in relation to buying two of our players but those managers at Championship and League One level have been clearly told we are not selling and they can go elsewhere. 

I have a meeting with the Chairman early in the week to discuss the squad in detail and the players that we have an interest in. I have said many times, there are transfer funds and loan wages available but we have to spend those monies wisely. 

How pleased are you with the quality of football the team is playing?

Yes, the quality of our football has been excellent and that will continue. We have to believe that by doing that the results will follow and I really do believe they will.

I like everyone thought we dominated at Northampton in midweek but we had even more of the ball yesterday, having a staggering 72% of possession throughout the match.

In our opening three league matches we have had 42 efforts at goal, that demonstrates the dominance we have had in each of the matches but at the same time we need to turn this into points.

No one should forget that of all the promotion hopefuls we have been given the toughest start to the season. I said back in July our opening 10 matches are all tough encounters and by coming through that we will know exactly what we are about.

Next Saturday we host Bradford City, a team that is certainly going to be a challenger for the title but we will be backed by a full stadium of Millers. Our support this season has been nothing short of brilliant but we are going to need them as in some matches they really could be the difference.

Finally, have you any words for the supporters who in the last week travelled in big numbers to Northampton and Chesterfield?

I have just mentioned how good they have been and the atmosphere they create is superb.

Our supporters now know, given the scenes in midweek at the end of the match at Northampton, that we are the scalp every team in League Two wants. The noise in the second half yesterday from the Millers fans was brilliant and I can tell them the lads really appreciate it fully.

We are going to need them in big numbers and with big voices next Saturday for the visit of Bradford. This will be another big test for us against a team who have signed a number of quality and expensive players but these are the matches we want to be involved in.

Another full house at the New York Stadium looks likely, we are in good shape, playing some quality football and we will be ready for the stern challenge next Saturday will be.

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