Sheffield United: Lee Evans accepts he could be singled-out for special treatment at Middlesbrough tonight
Lee Evans accepts he could be a marked man at the Riverside tonight, following his goalscoring exploits against Middlesbrough last season.
The Sheffield United midfielder produced two superb finishes, one of which was later nominated for several awards, when the two clubs met at Bramall Lane in April.
With those strikes still fresh in the memories of Tony Pulis' players, Evans said: "If a member of the opposition had done that against us I'd be thinking 'you can't do that again, surely?' Joking aside, you are wary of it and I'm sure they will have watched clips of us from Saturday, just as we have of them, and doing their analysis. We will be wary of their threats, as they've got plenty, and they will be wary of our threats because we've got plenty too."
Although the timing of his team's visit to the North-East has upset Wilder - it was originally scheduled to take place on August 21 - the decision to reschedule at least provides them with an early opportunity to exorcise the ghosts of last weekend's defeat by Swansea City. Despite acknowledging that losing the first match of a new season is far from ideal - "Maybe it brings a little extra pressure" - Evans insisted the result will have no bearing on United's approach against a team managed by his fellow Newportonian.
"The two games last year were close and I don't see much difference this year," Evans continued. "We have got to make sure we do the basics right and defend well as we know at some point in the game, we are going to come under pressure being away at Middlesbrough. The two managers are quite similar, I think.
"Tony Pulis is a massive name back in Newport," Evans added. "Hopefully, one day, I can be as big a name as him down there. He has had an unbelievable managerial career with what he did at Stoke for so long and now he is trying to get Middlesbrough back in the Premier League. He is one that people know about."
Evans, aged 24, highlighted the similarities between Pulis' methods and those Wilder employs behind the scenes. Middlesbrough, who drew with Millwall three days ago, possess more financial muscle than United but still emphasise the important of organisation combined with hard work.
"I think the fundamentals of all good teams is effort and doing all the basics well," he said. "The difference between the top teams is that little bit of quality in the final third and defensive third. Every team is built on working hard with a good shape and both teams will be the same. If we really put it all together, I am sure we will do well again this year."