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Club News

Gaffer on a Sunday

7 October 2012

Boss Steve Evans talks to www.themillers.co.uk...

Steve Evans spoke this morning exclusively to the official website, www.themillers.co.uk , as we continued with our weekly 'Gaffer on a Sunday' column.

What are your thoughts on yesterday’s away draw at York City?

Having watched the DVD of the match and spoken to each of the staff, there is no doubt it was a game we should have won.

The first-half was an even contest, if anything York City slightly shaded it and at the same time our quality of pass in the final third of the pitch was wasteful.

The second-half we totally dominated and we should have scored on a few occasions with the chances missed by Lionel Ainsworth and Gareth Evans coming to mind. We passed the ball with some real quality and for a 20 minute spell we were top class but when this happens we need to put the ball in the net.

My opposite number Gary Mills has spoken about the quality of our play and how fortunate his team were to take a point, but full credit to them too, like us they play the game the right way.

We have a game in hand over most of our league rivals, a win in that match would take us into the play-offs, that will be an important night?

Our match in hand against Accrington will take care of itself and it may not take place for six or seven weeks so we cannot spend any time looking that far ahead, but you make a very valid point.

I read and hear from certain managers and players that they have started the season brilliantly and yet three points from that match in hand would see us above them, I find that strange but I do not care about anyone else other than Rotherham United to be honest.

We always knew this new squad would take time to gel but I can see signs now that it is quickly coming together. This is a superb squad of players, they are getting to know each other on and off the pitch and they are enjoying coming to work which is a great sign.

On Friday you sanctioned the loan move of Johnny Mullins to Oxford United, what was the thinking behind that switch?
 
There were a number of factors considered before the decision was made, but let us not forget he is still a Rotherham United player.

The player, because of family reasons, has in the last few months moved back to the Kidderminster area. Whilst all of us fully accept why the lad has done this it was clearly felt by the management team and our Head of Medical that the daily round trip of over 220 miles or over four and a half hours driving each day is not conducive to playing football at the top of your game.

Another clear factor is that the lad wants to be playing first team football and he told me that on a number of chats I had with him, a situation I fully accept. I have a lot of respect for the lad as a player and importantly as a man, but at times I have to also make some tough decisions that I really believe are in the best interests of Rotherham United.

I will say again I need my players and staff totally focused on the task here at Rotherham United. Planning, preparation, commitment and giving ourselves the best opportunity to do our jobs effectively I need to know happen automatically.

We have allowed 'Mulls' to join Oxford United until early in January, but we can re-call him instantly after a period of 28 days has elapsed. It has to be said that when the player is back with us we need to have a plan in place whereby he is not spending most of every day driving back and forth to the West Midlands, but I am sure something can be done, I really do.

Can you update us with any injuries in the squad?

Yes no problem. Daniel Nardiello has a slight groin strain he picked up in a practice match we had on Wednesday, the morning after our match was postponed at Accrington. Our Head of Medical, Denis Circuit, and the lad himself have both told me this morning it is improving rapidly and he will most likely be fit to play in our reserve match with Peterborough United on Tuesday, if not he should certainly be fit for the visit of Southend United on Saturday.

Laurie Wilson is still feeling some slight discomfort in his knee but as it is only bone bruising he has to work the joint, so he is training for a couple of days with the squad then working in the gym for two days, but I would think he is just about ready to play again.

Towards the end of last week you were working on adding to the squad, can you update us if any progress has been made?

I certainly hope so but believe me these things take time. I have said many times that I only want to add players to the squad who can improve on what we have; Craig Morgan is the perfect example of that.

We have an excellent squad in place, a talented lot but they have just come together and it does take time. This squad of players and those we add to it will be successful, I really do believe that. We all want to win every game but we need to all know it is what is achieved over the season that counts.
Our defending and clean sheet record is now getting to a level where we need it to be, that comes from understanding and daily training ground practice. We need our quality in the final third of the pitch to improve, in midfield we seem to dominate most if not every match we play but that will only improve with time.

Finally we took around 1,600 fans to York City yesterday, have you a word for them?

No not all, I have two words, Thank You.

Our supporters both home and away have been incredible and are more than playing their part. They know this is a new squad but they also know it is a talented one. For us as the team we need that level of support for us to deliver them the ultimate prize, together we will be successful.
Through hard work we have got ourselves on the verge of the play-off group and within touching distance of the automatic places, that is where we want to be. We have had the biggest of bombs thrown into our camp, but next week that will be defused and dealt with.

We have a real tough match when Southend United come to the New York Stadium and three points from that will put us firmly in the pack for promotion, and at a time when we would all say we can do a lot better but the signs are starting to look very encouraging.

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