Rotherham United: Steve Evans’ Millers Championship mission

Steve Evans
Steve Evans

Manager Steve Evans is turning all his attention to leading Rotherham United away from the foot of the Championship after confirming he intends to stay with the club.

The Millers are bottom of the table and without a win in seven matches after Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at leaders Brighton and Evans had been linked with a move to the vacant hot-seat at League One Peterborough.

Matt Derbyshire missed a good chance

Matt Derbyshire missed a good chance

But after the Seagulls clash he talked about the mission he and Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart are facing together.

“Steve Evans and Tony Stewart, as a partnership, need to make sure we’re doing things right in the next weeks and months to make sure we keep this fantastic football club in the Championship,” he said.

“Until Tony Stewart tells me I’m not the manager of his football club, I’ll be the manager of his football club.”

The Millers go in search of their first league victory of the campaign at home to Cardiff City on Saturday, and Evans added: “My job is to make sure we’re part and parcel of this Championship. I need to get three points. If I get three points, I’ll get a wee bit of sleep.”

The Millers concede the opening goal

The Millers concede the opening goal

There had been speculation about a switch to Peterborough because Evans’ family home is in that area and he is close friends with Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony and director of football Barry Fry.

“I have a lot of respect for Darragh MacAnthony and Barry Fry and they know my project at Rotherham United is far from finished,” he said.

The Rotherham boss, who said he didn’t think there had been a Peterborough approach to Stewart for his services, has been coveted by several clubs in the last three years, which have seen him and No 2 Paul Raynor win successive promotions and then keep the Millers up in their first season back in the second tier.

“There’s not a person in football who doesn’t recognise the success this club has had over the last three years,” he said. “But we’re second season in the Championship. Second-season syndrome is known to me and everyone else in football.

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“The chairman had managers here who loved to play golf, loved to go home every day at half one and didn’t deliver what he needed, which was promotions. We’ve taken this club to the Championship.”

Meanwhile, Rotherham missed early chances in the first and second halves at the Amex Stadium where they put up a battling performance against Chris Hughton’s unbeaten side.

Striker Matt Derbyshire, recalled in place of Jonson Clarke-Harris, was wide with a header in the eighth minute while right midfielder Chris Maguire shot over over when presented with a golden 47th-minute opportunity.

“Matt Derbyshire should score,” Evans said. “It’s the best ball of the season from Vadis (Odjidja-Ofoe). It’s just a magnificent ball. It’s why he’s a Belgium international.

“Matt’s got to hit the target. If the keeper saves it, then fair enough.

“Chris Maguire normally scores them, doesn’t he?”

The Millers found themselves 2-0 down in the 67th minute but forced their way back into the match four minutes later through substitute Clarke-Harris.

“We get a goal back and then we probably huffed and puffed in the last third,” Evans reflected.

“The quality of the final ball wasn’t quite there. I can’t fault the effort, commitment and passion from the team. Every man on the pitch has run until they’ve dropped.”