Steve Evans talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Today sees the return of our popular Gaffer on a Sunday feature. It has been an interesting week for the Millers and it concluded with yesterday's first home league match of the season with Preston North End, that seemed like a good place to start.
As you reflect on yesterday's draw with Preston North End, how do you look back on the game?
In summary I am disappointed we did not take all three points on offer, I thought we just about deserved the win.
Our lads looked a 'bit leggy' after Tuesday night early in the match but even in that opening 20 minutes the nearest Preston came to scoring was two efforts from 25 yards. Simon Grayson has got himself an excellent squad of players together and for me they will challenge at the top end of League One come next April so the match itself gave us a good benchmark of our credentials.
The second-half was all about the Millers. For long periods we attacked the opposition but in fairness they stood strong and defended very well indeed. Kieran Agard, Michael O'Connor and Alex Revell all had chances but the ball would just not fall kindly for us and that was demonstrated further when there was three or four goalmouth scrambles near the end and we never once got a break.
My players again gave me everything effort wise, I am proud to work with them. We all accepted afterwards we could have perhaps worked a little smarter and started the match better, we will all learn from yesterday.
Both sets of supporters again helped to create a cup-tie atmosphere, a big thank-you to all the Millers who sang loud and proud.
The first week of the new season is now completed, overall how do you think you’ve done?
There has obviously been many highlights and a few things that we need to work on. Let us go back 12 months and imagine then that in the first week of the next season we would have drawn our first league match away from home in League One, beaten Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup and took a point from a match with Preston North End, perhaps knowing it should have been all three on offer, we would have been jumping for joy.
Last season has come and gone but we must not forget that in the whole of European football, Rotherham United had the biggest increase in home attendances, we will increase again this season such is the pride in being a Miller. My job is to give you the best team I possibly can and I will never stop looking to do that. I meet with the Chairman daily, we discuss all the options and ideas I have on players, current and possible recruits. We are firmly in control of what we are doing, the opposite of course is out of control and that can never be an option.
I want the beating of teams like Sheffield Wednesday to be the norm, that is my objective and to achieve that there is a lot of hard work to be done. Our new stadium is simply stunning, our supporters embrace and enhance it and our team is the one that is hardest of all to deliver but we really are making great progress there too.
The reward for beating Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup is a second round trip to face Premiership Aston Villa, is everyone in the dressing room pleased with the draw?
Yes, the lads were buzzing to be fair and I know from being in the town that the supporters are equally excited. I would have preferred to be playing them at home but we cannot influence the draw. We will take a fantastic travelling support to Villa Park, we will all enjoy a superb experience and I do believe we can win.
Villa are a great club, former European Cup Winners. They have a very talented manager in Paul Lambert, a fellow Glaswegian who now has the Villa on the right road and he and the team get backed by a big and superb vocal support. I have no doubt ‘Lambo’ will field a full strength team; he cannot afford to go out of this Cup to lower league opposition again, the pressure is clearly on them.
We have a reserve match at home tomorrow (Parkgate 2pm), will any first team squad players be involved?
Yes. I am a firm believer in that players need match time and some will get that. It may come a couple of days too early for Daniel Nardiello and I will not risk big Claude Davis with the firm ground but I am hopeful young Danny Hylton will be involved as will Adam Collin, Richard Brindley, Rob Milsom, David Noble, Michael Tidser, David Worrall and young Mitch Rose, so it would be great to see a few supporters turn out to watch.
Our next match is away at your old club Crawley Town, what is your initial thought's on that?
Well it really is just another game. I enjoyed some fantastic success there, working for some great people who I still remain friends with and speak to regularly.
The supporters where brilliant to me and Paul Raynor, on the day they will want to win as much as we will but I can only say great things about that football club and everyone connected to it. We are playing for three points and we will take a good travelling support who I am sure will make another cracking atmosphere for our players to respond to.
Crawley are a decent team with some real quality players and it will be another tough afternoon in League One but not for one minute do I ever expect an easy one.