After all the speculation surrounding Steve Evans this week, the Rotherham United manager says he has spent the week ensuring his squad focus solely on the FA Cup tie at home to Rochdale tomorrow.
And he has warned against any complacency by claiming Rochdale are better than Gillingham and that they will be coming over the Pennines trying to prove a point.
“I heard that in the media over there Rochdale are saying they will beat us,” said Evans, a strong candidate for Manager of the Month.
“After getting Bradford City in the first round I certainly wouldn’t have chosen Rochdale for our opponents in the second round.
“Look where they are in League Two, they are doing really well and they’ll be coming here, to a League One club, trying to prove a point. It’s up to us, along with the backing of our crowd, to sort matters out in our favour.”
Evans said he kept his staff and players in the picture in the week when news surfaced about Sheffield Wednesday’s interest in him.
“It was vital not to lose focus,” he said. “We are used to speculation in this business and it’s always an honour, and flattering, when another club comes in for you.
“But the players were briefed and we got on with our jobs then because this is an important game for us.
“We got a lot of praise last week for the way we played but this is a different game.
“You only have to look at some of the players Keith Hill has signed and I said back in August they would be a force in League Two this time.
“People will say you have to guard against any complacency in games like this. Experienced players know that and, as a management team, our jobs is to reinforce the message as we have been doing since Monday.
“We, and all our supporters, want us to be in the third round draw, on our own, when it’s made at ten past four on Sunday.”
The Millers will have Joe Skarz back after he left the field last week as a precaution following a thigh twinge.
Evans said he did not expect to have loan players Nouha Dicko, James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic available but was still awaiting confirmation on decisions.
Rochdale have two players back from suspension, skipper Olly Lancashire and central defender Jack O’Connell who was on loan at Rotherham from Blackburn last season, making five appearances, the last in the FA Cup exit at Aldershot.