Steve Evans gives his weekly update...
Steve Evans had a big smile for everyone as he arrived at the Millers training ground this morning. His Rotherham United players had just delivered a stunning week of performances and results but yesterday's superb 2 - 1 victory over Bristol City seemed a good place to start.
Q - Having looked back over yesterday's match DVD what is your reflective thought's on our 2 - 1 victory?
First let me acknowledge straight away that this Bristol City team we beat yesterday is vastly improved from the team we beat just before Christmas. More money has been spent by City in getting in loan players but in fairness those same lads are very talented. I was also impressed by the supporters who gave their team some fantastic backing and in turn the atmosphere was electric throughout.
As for the match, we certainly deserved to win. We got an early goal with a great strike from James Tavernier and we almost laid siege to the City goal for the entire first half. We passed the ball superbly, we had great width and quality from the impressive Nicky Adams and Ben Pringle whilst Lee Frecklington and Richie Smallwood were outstanding. At half time I was only disappointed that the match as a contest wasn't over but we did not take advantage of the chances or good offensive openings we created.
City got off to a great start in the second half with a great goal from Wade Elliott, it was a fine strike. I thought that for five minutes after that City got on top but at the same time they never made a chance of any note. Smallwood and Frecklington won a few tackles and we were suddenly back in the game and once again took the game to City. James Tavernier scored a stunning free kick to get us back in front and after that we had chances with Arnason, Revell, Agard and Pringle all coming close. We restricted City to long range efforts and that was pleasing because I do like this City team and the quality of player they have.
As I said we certainly deserved to win. I look at the match over 90 plus minutes, not the five minute period after City scored. We won't be getting too high after this win but it certainly takes us nearer an end of season play off place. Some people may get carried away talking about the top two but I'm not interested in those what if scenarios, let us just deal with one match at a time.
Q - For a second can we ask for your thoughts about the bottom of League One as the fight to avoid relegation gets interesting?
What I do know is that there are a number of quality teams fighting for survival. Each of those teams have good managers and some decent players so anyone of the bottom six is capable of putting a run of results together. I have to be honest and say I thought there was no chance Stevenage would go down yet they are bottom of the league table and Notts County have just won three matches on the bounce to give themselves a chance of survival, I am really pleased for Shaun Derry and all at County.
Q - Back to the Millers, how is the current injury situation?
We are in great shape but as we all know that can change very quickly. Mark Bradley as we know is out for the season but young Mitch Rose is back training and will play a part in the reserves tomorrow.
Kari Arnason has had to play with a slight muscle strain in his back for the last three matches but it has to be said his performances alongside Craig Morgan have been outstanding. I have to admit I love my big Ice man, when he plays with a focus we as a team are so much better.
Q - Our reserves host Mansfield Town tomorrow, what Millers players will be involved?
The team will be a mixture of some first team players and our young first year academy players. There is now a no risk policy for reserve matches so for all those matches now we will carefully select which players we think needs some game time and which don't.
The second year lads have their individual end of scholarship meetings with our Academy Manager Garreth Barker, it goes without saying I wish those young lads all the very best of luck as judgement day for a professional contract arrives.
Q - You agreed to send young Daniel Rowe on loan to Wycombe Wanderers on loan and he made his full league debut in helping his new team get an important point away at Scunthorpe, do you know how he played?
Let me say now I think very highly of this young man. I have had a lot of clubs ask to take him earlier in the season; he wasn't ready but he is now. I also wanted him to join a good club with a manager I know well and I'm pleased we have done that.
We had his performance analysed yesterday and it was a glowing report so it is a great start for the young man. He has a great attitude but as I told him this morning he must now build on that and play a big part in helping a good club like Wycombe Wanderers stay in the Football League, I have every confidence in him. His Wycombe manager, Gareth Ainsworth also told me last night he was delighted with Daniel so that is further pleasing.
Q - Next Saturday is another tough fixture when we travel to Gillingham, what is your thoughts?
We all know that will be another game. The Gills have some top class players and a manager in Peter Taylor who I respect greatly. This is a nan who has managed England after all, a man who knows the game inside out.
All our focus this week is on preparing for that match and the difficulties it will bring. We have no midweek first team match so that allows us to get some good quality work into the players and at the same time freshen them up, that balance is key at this stage of the season.
My lads could all play again today, they are incredibly fit and fresh, a great sign for any manager.
Finally I would once again like to acknowledge our fantastic supporters. Yesterday after City scored you upped the vocal support for the team and it drove the lads on. In fact it was so good I was desperate myself to take the free kick that Tavs scored, now who was it that said: "That man a Steve Evans, he does what he wants!"