STEVE Evans has predicted all three of the sides Rotherham United face in the opening month of the season will be involved in the League Two promotion shake-up come next April.
The Millers manager believes Burton Albion, Northampton Town and Chesterfield are well-equipped to be challenging in the upper echelons of the division.
Rotherham entertain the Brewers in their first competitive match at the New York Stadium this afternoon before an away double-header with the Cobblers and the Spireites.
Evans, who has brought in 11 new players over the summer, told The Star: “If you break the games down, I think Burton will be in the top seven. I didn’t think that before the signings they have made but I think they’ve got a good chance now.
“Burton will be a top seven side. I think we are going to play six of the top seven in the first eight weeks of the season so it is a tough start.
“Northampton will never be pretty to watch but I think they will be up there and I have watched Chesterfield a couple of times in the last few weeks and I think they have got what it takes to do well.
“I think we have a real tough start. As we get to the end of September, we will know what we need and what we don’t need.”
The Scot, renowned for being a fiery, animated figure in the dugout, says the Millers can ill-afford to get off to a slow start.
“We will see who is at the top of the table after 10 games,” he said. “We don’t want to be a long way behind the leaders that’s for sure.”
A left-sided defender and a new striker remain areas of the team Evans wants to freshen up. The defence is more of a priority for the Millers boss as he has four forwards at his disposal in Daniel Nardiello, Kayode Odejayi, Kieran Agard and Alex Revell.
Evans insists he is in no rush to bolster his attack and will only bring a player in who can improve his side.
Chief operating officer Paul Douglas is in discussions with a club over a striker but Evans is confident they have enough firepower to be a genuine force.
“I think we have got four top strikers in League Two and that will be proven,” he said.
“I think perhaps people forget the pedigrees of the strikers we have got at this football club and I believe that between those four players we have got the goals that will fire us to promotion.”