Steve Evans talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Steve Evans is back at work this morning watching a recent DVD of a Rochdale match, preparing for their visit on Tuesday evening. We continue with our weekly Gaffer on a Sunday feature.
Can you give us your thoughts on yesterday’s win over Torquay United?
Thanks to the Chairman, Paul Douglas and the media department here at Rotherham United I was able to watch the match live as they had it streamed straight to my laptop.
I thought our performance was excellent from start to finish against a good opposition. We could and should have won by five or six goals given the clear chances we created but yesterday was all about getting back on track with a win.
We are a team who is at our best when we play with a lot of energy and pass the ball quickly; we did that with some real creativity. We had the likes of Nicky Hunt, Dale Tonge and Craig Morgan playing, all those lads are short of first team action and they will all come on for the experience.
The spine of any successful team has to perform and yesterday Morgan, Taylor, O’Connor and Odejayi were outstanding.
Training was very good last week and I knew a good performance would be the outcome. The lads responded last week as I thought they would, I believe in this squad totally.
The atmosphere was again fantastic, the supporters where brilliant and it was great to hear.
Yesterday we were without several key players such as Arnason, Wilson, Noble and Bradley, can you give us an update of when they will be back available?
At no time this season have we had a full squad available for selection, I can only hope that opportunity will come. Kari Arnason twisted his ankle while playing for his country 10 days ago but is just about fit again and he may make Tuesday, he really is a talented lad and we will always miss a player of his ability.
Laurence Wilson has tweaked his knee and should be fit for next weekend but will have a scan tomorrow afternoon to make sure there is no other problem. Mark Bradley trained yesterday morning and subject to no set back from that he will be available for Tuesday.
David Noble was not included in the squad as he was laid low with a virus but I would not have included him regardless. I promised our supporters I would always be honest with them and I will. David is back in tomorrow morning for a chat and I need to hear he wants to be here. I love the lad but I will only have dedicated and motivated players who want what to be part of what we have here.
This morning you have watched a DVD of Tuesday’s opponents Rochdale, what can we expect of them, and are you likely to make any changes to the team?
Rochdale are a very good team and it was no surprise that they won with plenty to spare at AFC Wimbledon yesterday. They play as a unit, have lots of energy about them and they have several players who can hurt you.
When you look in detail at the players John Coleman has then you realise why he believes they will be fighting for promotion at the end of the season. They have come down from League One last season and are obviously aiming to get back there swiftly and that was demonstrated recently when they paid Scunthorpe United a decent transfer fee for the talented Bobby Grant and captured the likes of the experienced Dale Adebola. Young Ashley Grimes was tipped to be sold in the summer but Rochdale have kept him so they are obviously another team that is backing their manager, a talented man who knows this league inside out.
You said at the start of the season that you believed we had a very difficult opening 12 matches, out of those opponents who do you still believe will challenge for promotion?
When I looked at the fixtures back in July I stated then we had a real tough start and early results in the league suggest I was right.
Out of our opening 12 fixtures I would expect 10 of those teams to believe they will be in the promotion race at the end of the season so that spells it out how difficult our task is to have a bright start to the season.
I could not rule out any of our opponents from our fixtures to date as each of them had some real quality players and I would also expect the likes of Gillingham and Fleetwood to be involved when squeaky bum time arrives in February and March.
Finally, we know you have been following the news this week and would like to make a comment and send best wishes to the families of those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough travesty?
Everyone will have a real touch of sadness when you see the people of Liverpool talk about the Hillsborough events and the hurt they feel.
The reports that have come out last week will not have surprised the people from Liverpool; it will just have confirmed what they knew all along. To blame or even partially blame those football supporters of anything on that very sad day was scandalous and gets even worse when you see now the cover ups and lies.
This country or no one can ever give those families back their loved ones or take away the hurt but those responsible for making it as tough should be brought to justice. Liverpool people are proud people, a spade is a spade, and they have been badly let down, surely it is time to give them some comfort and financial payment that in some way may help them. When I see legends such as Kenny Dalglish break down in tears and plead for answers it’s time they were given.