AFTER suffering the first serious fan criticism of his reign this week, Rotherham United manager Steve Evans has asked fans to hold their fire - and let him have it at the end of the season if necessary.
“The important thing is getting behind the team but if anyone wants to have a go at me then wait until after 46 games and see where we are then or at a stage if we can’t get where we want to be,” said Evans.
“At the moment we stand three points behind the team in third place (Burton Albion) and we have played three games less than them. Yes, we have just had two poor games and two bad results but teams have patches when they’re off-form.”
Evans admitted that last Saturday’s defeat left him feeling lower than in the last five years of management but he was lifted by a chat with chairman Tony Stewart on Sunday evening.
“We reminded each other of what we said when I came here,” said Evans. “He’d a track record of four managers (Evans the fourth)in four years and I said it could take 18 months which is what it did to get Crawley right.
“He made valid points, we agreed that there might be wobbles. But he said that if he sees the wall getting built with building blocks going in and things improving, then he is going to say ‘you can count on our support’.
“He looked at it now and asked questions. Is the squad better than a year ago? Yes.
“Are we in a better league position? It’s ninth after 27 games and three points off the play-offs as opposed to 13th. Have we more points? Yes.
“To me, that’s progress.”
He added: “Does it make any better two poor performances and two bad results? No. Does it all make the Northampton game bigger? It’s only bigger because it’s the next one.”
Evans looks poised to recall midfielder David Noble whose last start was the 6-2 defeat at Port Vale on September 8. He scored last Saturday after going on as a late sub.
He added: “People say Steve Evans fell out with Noble; that he’s never been injured; that I’ve fallen out with Daniel Nardiello; and with Ian Sharps; but nothing could be further from the truth.”
He acknowledged that the next two games, against Northampton (fourth) and at Burton (third) represent a pivotal spell.
“It’s so tight up there and it’s likely to remain so,” he added with reference to the battle for third spot.
Northampton could recall ex-Millers defender David Artell after three months out. Clarke Carlisle is banned.
DID YOU KNOW?
The last meeting of Rotherham and Northampton was the last ever game at Don Valley Stadium.
Alex Revell was Millers’ final scorer there and Adebayo Akinfenwa last of all!