He’s triumphed in a Wembley play-off final and a last-day promotion decider, but Rotherham United boss Steve Evans insists a win against Norwich City tomorrow would rank as the biggest of his career.
The Millers go into tomorrow’s clash at AESSEAL New York Stadium against promotion-chasing Norwich knowing they are likely to have been docked three points beforehand and with their Championship safety on the line.
A disciplinary is expected to deliver its verdict today after the club were charged nearly a fortnight ago by the Football League with fielding an ineligible player.
“If we get a win against Norwich that would be my best result as a manager, given the circumstances,” the Rotherham boss admitted.
“We have to take whatever the decision is and then deal with it. We’re trying to focus on Norwich. We’ve put it out of our minds before, and we’ll do it again on Saturday.”
A three-point deduction would leave the 21st-placed Millers one point above Millwall, who occupy the third and final relegation spot, and two clear of 23rd-placed Wigan Athletic, and Evans - whose side have three matches left, one more than each of their survival rivals - is keen to see the issue resolved.
“It’s better out, completed and done so we all know where we are,” he said. I’ve been told that hopefully it will all be concluded by the time we arrive for the match on Saturday.
“This is up there with the biggest games I’ve had at Rotherham. It’s the biggest in terms of quality of opposition. We have to be at our very, very best.”
If Rotherham could pull off a victory against a Canaries outfit still with aspirations of finishing in the top two and other results go their way, they could, conceivably, seal their second-tier safety tomorrow even if three points have been removed by the FL panel.
But Evans is refusing to contemplate matters beyond his control.
“As a manager, you never take an approach of “what might be”. That would drive you to the clinic,” he said. “Of course we will be aware what’s happening elsewhere, but if we lose our focus and concentration by one per cent against Norwich then we lose the game.”
After playing Norwich, the Millers are at home to Reading on Tuesday before ending their campaign next Saturday at Leeds.
Today, Millwall entertain Derby County while Wigan are at home to Wolves.
Evans added: “I’m not so sure one win will will do it, it may take more than that.
“We all know a win against Norwich would take us to within a gnat’s whisker of where we want to be, irrespective of what happens at the Football League.”
The Millers manager says he has been concentrating solely on football and bears no bad feeling towards anyone at the club who may have made an admin error.
“I don’t want to cast judgement on people who make genuine mistakes,” he said. “I have made enough of them. I have often said that in my career, and I mean it.”
Less than 500 tickets for the match remain.