Evans reflects on draw at Barnet...
In your latest instalment of Gaffer on a Sunday, Steve Evans reflects on yesterday's draw with Barnet, and the competitiveness of League Two this season.
Q - Have you had the chance to review the DVD of yesterday’s away 0-0 draw at Barnet?
Yes. It would be fair to say that we did not start the match on the front foot and that will always make it difficult when you are playing against a team who always get the large majority of their points at home. We changed the shape of the team around the 20 minute mark and we settled down, the remainder of the first half thereafter being fairly even. At half time Paul Raynor reemphasised the individual responsibilities and again it would be accurate to say that until the harsh sending off of Alex Revell we were by far the better team, missing three good chances in that period.
The sending off of Alex Revell should have brought nothing more than a yellow card but it was a day that was full of strange decisions. It would have been easy for the ten players left on the pitch to have surrendered and got beaten but again it was us who tried to win the match, indeed, young Kieran Agard had a great opportunity to do that for us.
The point at Barnet is a point away from home and that should always be recognised as a solid afternoon but it does not feel like that this morning. In my opinion that is because we did not take care of the home match against Rochdale in midweek.
Q – Will the club be appealing the sending off of Alex Revell?
The management team will again review the challenge made by Revs tomorrow morning but to be successful we all have to be 100% certain that the referee got the decision wrong to the point where the challenge was not even worthy of a yellow card and that is where the problem may be.
Q- Can you give us an update in respect of the injured players?
Let me start with Laurence Wilson. We expected the lad to be fit by the middle of last week but he is still feeling some discomfort behind the knee and he will revisit a consultant early in the week.
Kari Arnason is improving daily and our had of medical Denis Circuit advises me the lad should be back in full training by the middle of the week.
David Noble rejoined the squad for training last Friday and will play in the reserve match away at Walsall on Tuesday afternoon so that in itself is terrific news.
Q – Given the latest injury prognosis with Laurence Wilson will you now consider bringing in a left back?
Yes it is now something that we must look at, while I must add that I thought Dale Tonge did well, but of course we do need that natural left sided balance in the team.
Q – Looking briefly back at the match at Barnet, young Mitch Rose made his full first team debut for the Millers, how do you think he did?
I thought the young man did really well on what will always be a day he will remember. Without doing anything spectacular he put in a real workmanlike performance and showed that he has a future at a good level in the game we all love.
Q – It would be fair to say that the League Two table is still very tight with only six points separating second place Port Vale down to 15th placed York, what are your thoughts?
I would agree that it looks tight and that will be the case until we head towards November time. Deeper analysis will tell you that we are two points outside the play offs and another win away from being in the top three automatic promotion places.
Before a ball was kicked I stated that we had a very difficult start to the season and nothing has changed my mind since. To date we have played one of the bottom ten teams in the league and that was yesterday at Barnet when we had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men. I still have every confidence that we will achieve our objectives this season. In league two last season after eight matches the four teams who ultimately won promotion were not amongst the high flyers and that included deserved run away champions Swindon Town.
Back then I recall reading Paolo Di Canio commenting that it would take his newly assembled squad some time to gel and I feel no differently here at Rotherham United this season.
We have high standards here and the expectation on all of us is huge but I said in the summer and I will say it again that this group will be the ones celebrating at the end of the season with the best supporters any team could wish to have behind them.