Rotherham United manager Steve Evans reckons the resolve and tenacity that has built up within the squad will help them overcome the absentees for the clash with Sheffield United at a full house New York Stadium tomorrow.
Fortunately, Evans saw members of his first team squad come safely through a private friendly against Manchester United at their Carrington training complex this week.
“I got a call from David Moyes - who I’ve known since we were kids, him sleeping at my house and me at his - asking if we fancied a game over there on Wednesday,” said Evans.
“It was the perfect opportunity to get some minutes into some of our boys, those who hadn’t been playing for whatever reason, and just as important was not picking up any more injuries.”
Rotherham’s team included Claude Davis, Richard Brindley, Pablo Mills, Michael Tidser, Daniel Nardiello, Matt Tubbs and all are in the frame to challenge for a start tomorrow.
“It was a good workout because United had players such as Fabio, Anderson, Buttner, Lindegaard and others in their side and you even had Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand watching from the sidelines,” added Evans.
“Everyone knows we have people missing tomorrow, close to half a team from early season choices, but no one here will be making excuses either beforehand or afterwards.
“We have developed such a resolve and a tenacity within this squad and it gives opportunity to others and I certainly have confidence in them, no doubt about that. You give players an opportunity and if they take it then they’ll stay in. Let’s focus on who is there not who isn’t.”
“Certainly anyone would want to play in a game like this.”
Major absences for Rotherham are Kari Arnason and Michael O’Connor - on international duty - and Mark Bradley who is expected to miss out although Evans hadn’t ruled him out completely but did say he was no more than 40-60. In addition, David Worrall is still out.
Davis hasn’t played since opening day whilst Daniel Nardiello has had only 20 minutes of first team football. Fellow striker Danny Hylton, yet to kick a ball, has been a sub for the past two games whilst Matt Tubbs, without a pre-season, has been working on his fitness after starting four times but not completing 90 minutes.
Blades striker Lyle Taylor could have been playing for the Millers but they couldn’t agree terms after a £250,000 fee had been agreed.
“Our fans will win the atmosphere battle but it’s more important to win the match,” added the Rotherham boss.