Rotherham United: Jury out on Millers

Steve Evans
Steve Evans
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All Rotherham United boss Steve Evans is asking for is a fair trial.

He and chairman Tony Stewart stand accused of allowing progress to stall after two promotions and Championship survival in their first three seasons together.

With the Millers fighting to lift themselves from the foot of the table, Evans picked up on the courtroom analogy he revealed the club’s owner had employed this week during one of their regular get-togethers,

“Tony Stewart and Steve Evans are in the dock getting judged by the jury, and the jury is our supporters,” he said.

“If the evidence had been judged halfway in League Two and League One, me and Tony Stewart would have been sent down. If it had beeen judged in January last season, it is fair to say we’d be down again.

“As the chairman said, there’s still a lot of evidence to come out of Rotherham United this season.”

Lee Frecklington limps off against Charlton

Lee Frecklington limps off against Charlton

The Millers have just two points from their opening seven games but, in mitigation, have shown a marked improvement in the two games since the international break, at Charlton Athletic and Brighton.

And Evans had the following message for the jurors of AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“Do people think Steve Evans and Tony Stewart aren’t fighters and haven’t got pride and determination?

“Do they think if we get down we don’t get back up again? We are the leaders of that at Rotherham United. Our club has been the only beacon of light in Rotherham for three and a half years. That beacon of light is not going to go out, that’s for sure.”

If today’s performance at home to sixth-placed Cardiff City is anywhere near as stirring as the manager’s rhetoric, it should be a case of “all rise” for the Millers.

Evans is well aware just how big a boost to spirits a first leaguue victory would be.

“We need to win a game, whether its home or away,” he said “I’d prefer it to be at home, though, as that’s where the bulk of your fans see it.

“Football is all about winning. We have not won a game and have played enough matches to get that win.

“The majority of supporters are with us every step of the way, and I want to win matches more than anyone in the world.

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“I want to get back to that winning feeling. I read some quotes attributed to Jose Mourinho who said he’d forgot what it felt like to win until he won in the Champions League in midweek. That what it feels like as a manager.”

And Evans knows where the problems lie.

Too many defensive mistakes and missed chances? Guilty.

Lack of effort and commitment, as some critics have suggested? Not guilty.

The Rotherham boss says he would be happy for “three or four” of his players to go out on loan. Some of his squad have been offered the chance of game-time elsewhere but have turned it down.

“I believe players should always want to play football, but I don’t have hang-ups about players not wanting to go on loan from here,” he said. “I respect the guys’ decisions.”

A Premier League player who has failed to make his club’s 25-man squad has rejected the chance to join the Millers for a temporary spell, Evans added.

“We got permission from the club and the boy didn’t want to come,” he said.

The Millers will be without skipper Lee Frecklington against the Bluebirds as he recovers from a calf injury picked up during the 1-1 draw at Charlton last week, and centre-half Kirk Broadfoot serves the final game of his 10-match ban.

Meanwhile, the case for the defence resumes this afternoon at 3pm.