Evans expects Hearts to offer stiff challenge

ROTHERHAM United face a tough test this afternoon when they take on Hearts in their third friendly but manager Steve Evans is relishing that particular prospect.

“It’s all about gearing up towards the season proper and you can be sure that Hearts, just ahead of their first competitive game, will come and give us a real stiff test,” said Evans who said Hearts contacted Rotherham about playing here.

“They are a big club and, I feel, will be the only team who can challenge Celtic for the title.

“I think we are looking to step up our levels each time we go out. We’ve enjoyed the couple of wins we’ve had but we’re not yet right and there’s a bit of gelling still to do.

“The tempo for the first hour the other night wasn’t what we expect but in the final half-hour you saw how strongly we were going and Doncaster couldn’t handle us in the end.

”But I know there is more to come from us and you would expect that at this stage.”

Evans is set to give a first appearance to midfielder Michael O’Connor, the only one of his 10 summer signings still to figure. He has been out with a groin strain.

Striker Kieran Agard, who went on as substitute on Tuesday and got the winner, is also likely to get another run-out. The former Yeovil Town player is set to join on a two-year deal, subject to a medical.

Right back Dale Tonge, who has yet to figure, has continued with his rehabilitation.

Hearts, fifth last season and Scottish Cup winners, are a week away from their first game in the Scottish Premier League.

Big striker John Sutton previously played in England whilst striker David Templeton is one of their key players.

Kick off is 2pm.