Rotherham United: Talking stops as Neil Redfearn faces Steve Evans

Neil Redfearn
Neil Redfearn

They spoke around the time they were each stepping into the hot-seat that the other used to fill.

But this week there has been no contact between Rotherham United manager Neil Redfearn and Leeds United boss Steve Evans.

Steve Evans

Steve Evans

With three vital Championship points at stake when the pair of them go head to head at Elland Road tomorrow, the time for talking has gone.

“He’s getting on with what he does and I’m getting on with what I do here,” Redfearn said.

“I spoke to Steve right at the beginning, just to say ‘good luck’. He said ‘good luck’ back, and that was basically it.”

The 50-year-old was appointed by Rotherham on October 12 after the surprise departure of Evans, while, soon after, he man who led the Millers to two consecutive promotions took over at Leeds, where Redfearn had enjoyed six successful years in the academy set-up and one in charge of the first team.

Stephen Kelly

Stephen Kelly

“Obviously, he’ll be as keen to get the points on Saturday as me,” Redfearn added. “I’m looking forward to the game and looking forward to us putting a performance on.

“The people of Leeds United know how I am and they’ll know I’ll be desperate to win because I was desperate to win for them.”

The Millers head to West Yorkshire bottom of the table but boosted by the signings this week of former Premier League striker Leon Best and ex-top-flight right-back Stephen Kelly.

Midfielder Paul Green is another man returning to his old club tomorrow and Redfearn backed the 32-year-old to bounce back from the abuse he received from a section of Rotherham followers after a poor display in the 5-2 defeat against Ipswich Town before the international break.

Paul Green

Paul Green

“It’s tough. I went through similar at Barnsley as player,” the manager revealed. “When Mel Machin was manager, I used to get some proper stick.

“The players who don’t hide and get on the ball tend to make mistakes. The ones who never get on the ball are no good to you. What i would say about Paul Green is that he never hides. He’s always getting himself in there, and every now and again he’s going to have a bad game.

“What’s happened is that they’ve let him know about it. But that doesn’t mean Paul Green is a bad player because he’s not.

“Listen, supporters pay their money and they’re allowed an opinion. They can say what they want. But the opinion that matters to these players is my opinion, and that will always be the case.

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“Without a shadow of a doubt, Paul Green is strong enough to handle the situation.”

Redfearn, who led Leeds away from the drop zone last season despite being undermined by chairman Massimo Cellino’s regime, is guaranteed a warm welcome at Elland Road where thousands of fans chanted his name last season in his final match in charge, against Rotherham.

“I had seven years there and they were successful times,” he said. “The reception had an impact on me at the time. They saw the siutation for what it was. They were witnessing what was happening. It wasn’t right at the top, and probably still isn’t right at the top. Because things are so much under the microscope now, fans don’t miss anything.

“The Leeds fans know, as I hope the Rotherham ones will, that I don’t lie. I tell the truth. I think that’s what they took to. They didn’t want to be lied to anymore. We’d tried to get it right, and we did get it right for what they needed at the time.

“But what I have to do on Saturday is concentrate on Rotherham United.”