ROTHERHAM UNITED: ‘Winning mentality’ of new boss Steve Evans clinched role

Ambitions: Steve Evans and Tony Stewart at Don Valley Stadium
Ambitions: Steve Evans and Tony Stewart at Don Valley Stadium
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JUST imagine, Rotherham United v Crawley Town over two legs in the League Two Play-offs!

New Millers boss Steve Evans would certainly take a place in the end-of-season lottery but he wouldn’t look forward to the prospect of facing the club close to his heart and where he has enjoyed so much success, taking them to the brink of another promotion.

Crawley will be in the play-offs at least whereas Rotherham - four wins from five under caretaker-manager Darren Patterson - have revived their play-offs hopes although they remain very much outsiders.

The irony is that Evans can still help his former club this weekend.

For his first game in charge he takes Rotherham to third-placed Shrewsbury, get something there and Crawley could take advantage and jump back into the automatic promotion places.

Evans might still have been in Sussex and admits that “in an ideal world” he would have delayed his departure to the end of the season.

Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart was happy for that to happen, for Evans to see out the season at Crawley before joining Rotherham.

The interview process had been completed; Stewart had made up his mind that Evans was the man and Evans was pretty much convinced after first meeting with Stewart where he was happy for his future to be.

Taking Crawley up would have been the perfect ending to his five years there and Stewart willingly accepted that.

But, on re-thinking the situation, Crawley’s hierarchy (praised by Stewart for their handling of the affair) felt that they did not want to think that Evans’ mind might even be slightly drifting elsewhere and wouldn’t want him anything less than 100 per cent.

In the cold light of day, Evans agreed with that.

It meant that things moved on quickly over the Easter weekend with a compensation figure agreed (Evans had two years left on his contract) and he headed North on Su nday so he could be at the Don Valley Stadium to watch Monday’s game with Cheltenham.

By a quirk, Evans was to actually see Cheltenham’s players before his a new ones.

The hotel he stayed in was the same one that Cheltenham rolled up at and Evans, speaking with Rotherham officials in the lobby, had Cheltenham players walking by!

Stewart has brought in a man he identified as someone with a winning mentality who gets success and who he sees as having the “drive and passion” to fulfill his and the club’s ambitions.

His statement that Evans was “head and shoulders” above the other eight interviewed on the shortlist, was a pretty powerful one.

Evans says he fully accepts the challenge to take the club higher - “I would not be here if I didn’t think I could take this club to The Championship,” he said.

Meanwhile, Stewart has praised the job done by Darren Patterson as caretaker-manager, saying he has fulfilled the role with the utmost professionalism along with the staff.

Patterson, expected to move on, oversaw four wins in his five games in charge with improved overall performances as well.