In our second instalment of Steve Evans’ close season update, the Millers boss looks ahead to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final between Norwich City and Middlesbrough at Wembley Stadium.
What are your thoughts on the Sky Bet Championship play-off final?
“For me it is the two best teams outside Bournemouth and Watford in the division. I am in contact with both managers on a regular basis and what I am in no doubt about is that both sides will be impeccably prepared for the final. Both were fully deserving of taking their place in the showpiece and both will be ready for the big occasion.
“Norwich have a number of key players who will have a bearing on whether they are successful or not. The top of their spine, which is Cameron Jerome, and just off him, Wes Hoolahan, could be the difference on the day if they are to be victorious.
“Middlesbrough are a team that are also full of quality and again it is at the top end of the pitch where they can make the difference. A couple of players jump out in my mind and they are Patrick Bamford, if he is fit to play, and if he isn’t then they will probably go with Kike who is also a quality operator. I expect one of those to play alongside one of the best players in the Championship in Lee Tomlin. The four or five players that I have mentioned there will be pivotal in the game and could be the difference to who comes through at the end of the day.
“If I had to be pressed for a winner I would have to say Norwich by the slimmest of margins, but it really is to close to call. It would be just as deserving for Aitor Karanka and Middlesbrough to win, he has led his side with real style all season.”
You will be covering the game for the media we understand?
“I will be a guest of Sky Sports for most of the weekend. On Sunday morning I will be appearing on the Goals on Sunday programme with Chris Kamara and I am very honoured to have been asked to attend. I will be following that up by looking at the League One play-off final which is very exciting, and I believe I will also be having some input on the end of the Premier League season, which is also set for a really exciting climax. Both Hull City and Newcastle will be working tremendously hard to stay in the Premier League and both sets of supporters will no doubt be biting their nails until the last minute. What I can definitely say is that whoever comes down then The Championship will be receiving a fantastic football club who will be strong next season.
“On Monday I am on Sky Sports News looking at the Championship play-off final live from Wembley, and hopefully the day before I will be speaking to both managers to share their thoughts with the viewers on Monday afternoon.”