Steve Evans talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Manager Steve Evans has confirmed that he has a number of key players already ruled out Thursday night's second leg League One play-off semi-final with Preston North End.
The match is finely balanced at 1- 1 after Saturday evening's encounter at Deepdale but the terrific performance came at a price with several players facing a race against time to be fit for the second-leg.
The Millers were without top-scorer Kieran Agard prior to the game, whilst full-back Richard Brindley and midfielder Lee Frecklington were also withdrawn through injury during the tense encounter.
Speaking exclusively to the official website this morning manager Evans revealed the extent of the injury situation ahead of the second leg at New York Stadium:
“We produced a top class performance away at Preston on Saturday and it is even more pleasing considering not only those players we had missing through injury, but those that had to be taken off during the match itself,” said the Millers boss.
"We started at Deepdale without Kieran Agard (hamstring), Nicky Adams (calf) and Miles Addison (ankle) and the reality after speaking to my Head of Medical is that none of them look likely to be fit for the match on Thursday.
"We then lost Richard Brindley (hamstring) and Lee Frecklington (knee) and they do not appear to have much of a chance, whilst Ben Pringle (thigh) has to be considered as doubtful, frustrated is a polite word for me this morning.”
Evans also revealed that in-form striker Wes Thomas has also been subject to treatment however he admitted he expects the former Bournemouth hot-shot to be fit to train.
"Wes Thomas has a slight back strain but he should be fit for action come kick-off time on Thursday night, he should train today,” he added.
"Our medical staff have been working round the clock since last week and that will continue all the way up until kick-off time on Thursday evening. We will give all our players every chance to be fit but we have what we have and I am sure whoever is selected will give it everything they have. I will only select players who are 100% fit, if not they do not play.”
With tickets flying out for Thursday’s second-leg and fans being encouraged to turn out in red, Evans called for a cauldron of noise to usurp the atmosphere at Deepdale ahead of the crunch encounter.
"The noise levels from the crowd at Deepdale on Saturday was fantastic,” recognised Evans.
“The Millers support of course added to it and the vocal backing they gave the team was again just brilliant. The Preston supporters it has to be said were awesome and they like ours should be commended, they have set a very high standard to follow.
"Our supporters at home do create a special noise and atmosphere but on Thursday it has to be the best of all. We need you to be our twelfth man; you really can all play a part and do not for one minute think otherwise. This match is only at half-time, Preston are formidable opponents and like us have a top class away record this season. Preston will still start the match firm favourites so we need to stay focused on how tough this challenge is.
"We need our supporters to be in full voice, passionate and proud. This Millers team will give them everything in return and it is another very special occasion at the New York. No one except the Millers supporters gave us a chance against Preston when we got paired with them in these play-offs and yes it will be a huge mountain but I have faith in this squad of men, I have always had that.
"I am asking every Miller attending to play a part, in summary; we need you now more than ever before!”