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Points the only focus for Evans

16 August 2013

By Tony Leighton

Points in the bag, not love in the heart, will be the drive for Rotherham United manager Steve Evans, despite his affection for previous club Crawley Town, when he takes the Millers to Broadfield Stadium for Saturday's Sky Bet League 1 clash.

Evans left Crawley for Rotherham in April last year after five seasons with the Surrey club, who he led to promotion from the Conference to The Football League in 2011 and 11 months later had them on the brink of League 1 - which they subsequently reached - when he departed for Yorkshire.

As well as success in League football, Crawley enjoyed some great times under Evans in the FA Cup, most notably in the 2010/11 campaign when as a Conference club they knocked out sides from League 2, League 1 and the Championship before running Manchester United close at Old Trafford.

"Crawley will always be in my heart," said the 50-year-old manager as he looked ahead to what will be his first trip back to the Broadfield Stadium.

"I'll never forget my time at the club. Setting every record in non-league that was possible, getting to the fifth round of the FA Cup and playing Manchester United off the park before losing 1-0.

"I still speak to the owners socially, they're the salt of the earth and the supporters are really good people. They're short of Rotherham in terms of numbers by some distance, but they still have the same passion for their club.

"So I'm really looking forward to going back there on Saturday and seeing some old faces - but come 3pm, I'll be wanting a Rotherham win."

Victory for the Millers would be their first of the season in League 1, Evans' side drawing each of their opening two fixtures following promotion from League 2 in what was the manager's first full season with the club.

Sandwich between stalemates with Crewe Alexandra and Preston North End, however, was a memorable Capital One Cup win against Championship club Sheffield Wednesday in an intense Yorkshire derby.

Evans believes that his team can build on what he calls a "reasonable" start to the campaign to perhaps push for a second successive promotion.

And he also feels that Crawley, who have taken four points from their first two matches of the campaign, could be up there tussling for a top-six place along with some of the big hitters that are in League 1 this season.

"Crawley are punching above their weight for the size of the club but you'll never stop their desire to carry on doing that.

"They only missed out on the Play-Offs by five or six points last season, they'll be looking to improve on that and if they do so they'll be in the shake-up.

"I think we'll be up there as well. The benchmark for us was Preston - I think that they'll challenge for promotion, and although our game against them last week ended in a draw we should have won the match.

"That's a good indication that we'll compete at this level. When you look at the big clubs in League 1 - and by the way I think Peterborough will be champions - the likes of Wolves, Bristol City, Sheffield United and Preston will all be up there. For us to break into that group is going to be difficult - but I think we can do it."

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