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Club News

Gaffer on a Sunday

17 February 2014

Steve Evans talks to

We caught up with Steve Evans this morning as he was on route to a coaching day, we started with looking back on yesterday’s victory over Stevenage…

Have you had the opportunity to watch the full match DVD of yesterday's win over Stevenage?

With a full day ahead of me today I took the opportunity to watch the match back last night. There is no doubt that we deserved to win given the overall match but it would only be honest to conclude that we looked a notch down from our customary performance levels.

Let no one take away from my players the importance of our win. That Stevenage team have already beaten Brentford and Peterborough United this season and I think they beat Leyton Orient in the cup too. When they have their best players available, like they did yesterday, they are a decent team but when they lose their key players I am not so sure they have adequate replacements to come in and do a similar job.

We deservedly led at half-time through a smart finish from Wes Thomas and we had five good chances to  add to that lead midway through the second half, one of them being taken would have meant game over. Mark 15 minutes with 10 men so to then go and win was a great reward for the players’ efforts. Stevenage then get a goal from a player Bradders had marked at set pieces all afternoon so I felt for the lads but what I know is that we all have the most fantastic desire to win. Richie Smallwood won a great second ball, played in Harris Vuckic who in turn did great to set up Lee Frecklington, his finish was absolute class. Every player on and off the pitch celebrated the goal and the togetherness in the squad is fantastic.

As I said we were a little off what we can produce but I must add that I thought Kari Arnason, Richie Smallwood and Lee Frecklington where excellent at times. Adam Collin produced a couple of excellent saves and Harris Vuckic made a real positive impact when he came off the bench, that is a big plus as he is one very talented lad.

Craig Morgan pulled out of being available for selection yesterday morning through illness, how is he and can you give us an update on the injured players?

Craig trained on Friday and he was set to start yesterday but he pulled out through a tonsillitis symptom illness. I was disappointed as he had looked so good in training all week but that is why we have a squad rather than just 11, 12 or 13 preferred players.

Big Claude Davis was elbowed, quite nastily, early on in yesterday's match. He was starting to have severe headaches and despite a couple of painkilling doses he had to come off but he should be fine. Alex Revell was also smashed about the head and was bleeding heavily but he again should be fine with rest today. Mark Bradley twisted his back after a fall and it will be tomorrow before we know more but hopefully with a few days rest he should be fine but I need to wait and see on that.

Rob Milsom will be back in full training later this week and available for selection, that is great news because he is one of our top players.

We have a reserve match at home to Mansfield Town scheduled for tomorrow, are you hopeful the match will be on and if so who will play for the Millers?

Given the beautiful weather today and the forecast we all hope the match can go ahead. All the lads in need of a match will play and as always a few of the younger players who have been doing well at youth level recently will also be involved. 

Are we likely to see any transfer activity in the coming days?

In respect of incomings I would love the answer to that question be yes. We have a player in mind, one that will cost us a lot of money but I believe he is a player who will improve what we have but as I have said from the outset we need that players’ club to get the player in they want. We have done everything we can; now we must just sit and be patient.

As for players out it may be that one or two be allowed to go out on loan so they can get some very important first team competitive action, we will know more later in the week but we have to be careful and make sure we have good cover for every eventuality.

Next up is a trip north next Saturday to play Carlisle, what do we know about our next opponents?

We certainly know everything there is to know about them as a team. More importantly what I do know is that it will be very tough against a team who I watched myself easily beat Bradford City only last week.

They are a decent passing team and have a few excellent individuals. On top of that they have a good young manager in Graham Kavanagh who looks as if he will have a good career as a manager to add to what was a brilliant career as a player. 

We will watch them again on Tuesday evening so everything in our preparation will be current; hopefully we can go north and do ourselves justice with a good performance.

What are your thoughts on the current state of play in League One? Yesterday seemed like a good day results wise for the Millers?

It may seem like that with Leyton Orient, Preston, Peterborough and Walsall all dropping points but believe me we cannot affect any of those teams results unless we play against them.

What we can affect is our own results. We are fighting to stay in the play-off group in League One and it is very tough, that is what I do know. This league is full of quality players and teams. No managers in League One gave us a hope of getting an end of season play-off place back in August; we are all trying to prove them all wrong. Our support is fantastic and we need that now more than ever, Millers fans please keep behind us!

Yesterday we had a minute’s silence for the passing of Sir Tom Finney, someone who Paul Raynor knew well?

My assistant manager played at Preston North End and met Sir Tom on many occasion, he often comments on what a great man he was. I only met him once; he was humble and dignified for being such a great footballer.

On behalf of everyone at Rotherham United I offer my condolences to his immediate family and friends plus everyone at Preston North End Football Club, a man and footballer who will never be forgotten.

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