Steve Evans doesn’t always appreciate the company of the daughter he dotes on because she asks him too many questions about Rotherham United!
But it was the thoughts of offspring Nicole which helped convince the Millers manager that his team could be a top-half Championship side next season.
Evans’ team finished five points clear of the drop zone in the second tier last term, despite having three points deducted by the Football League and throwing away four points in two draws against the club marooned at the foot of the table all year, Blackpool.
And the Rotherham boss revealed: “I sat with my daughter the other day. She really does my head in because she’s stats based. She asks a million questions.
“I don’t smack her! She’d probably throw me out of the car! She just said to me, Blackpool’s not in a good state, Dad. If you’d beaten Blackpool home and away and got those three points back from the Football League, where would you be?”
The answer is not far away from midtable, before you factor in the Millers conceding a last-minute equaliser in a 3-3 home draw with Fulham and throwing away a 2-1 lead in time added on to lose 3-2 to derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
After Rotherham had sealed their Championship safety at the end of April with a 2-1 home win over Reading, Nicole, who had watched the match from the North Stand, was the person Evans chose to spend his evening with.
And, as he prepares to make his first signings of the summer, he believes his side are ready to build on last season’s survival achievement.
He said: “I think we need to establish ourselves as a Swansea of the Championship. They’re midtable in the Premiership and can they kick on? Yeah, I think they can.
“It will be a question of whether they can get those one or two signings who make the difference.
“I think we now need to become a Championship club that people see as a solid, settled second-tier club. Not necessarily the biggest. Do you want to be the biggest? I’m not sure that you always want to be the biggest.
“But you want to be the best at what you can do, so I think if we can become a solid, midtable Championship side being able to cast an eye towards that play-off pack then that would be a remarkable success.”
Meanwhile, former Millers right-back Richard Brindley says he’s delighted to have signed for home-town club League One Colchester United because it offers him the chance of regular first-team football.