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Steve Evans is pinching himself after promotion to the Sky Bet Championship

25 May 2014

Rotherham United boss Steve Evans said he was 'pinching himself' at the prospect of being a Sky Bet Championship manager next season after his side beat Leyton Orient in the Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off Final at Wembley.

The Millers secured a second successive promotion after coming from 2-0 behind to level at 2-2, and then progress 4-3 in the shoot-out and confirm their place in the Sky Bet Championship for the 2014/15 season.

"When you think of the teams in the Championship next season; Fulham, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, I could go on - it's a dream to playing alongside those clubs," Evans - who will be managing in the second tier for the first time - admitted.

"Next season we'll be at Carrow Road and going across the motorway to play Sheffield Wednesday. You have to pinch yourself.

"It really is staggering when you look at the clubs, but we'll be with them in August."

Orient took the lead through Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox but Rotherham battled in the second half. Alex Revell prodded home from inside the box and then produced a stunning 35-yard volley to make it all square.

And it was Evans' side who eventually prevailed from 12 yards out after goalkeeper Adam Collin saved from Orient defender Mathieu Baudry and striker Chris Dagnall.

That save from Collin continues the meteoric rise through the English footballing pyramid experienced by the 51-year-old manager.

Taking charge of Stamford in his first managerial post in 1994, Evans guided the Daniels out of the United Counties Premier League before joining Boston United and leading them from the Southern League to The Football League in four years.

His next club, Crawley Town, won the Conference Premier in 2010/11 and then in April 2012 he left to join Rotherham United. Even though Rotherham - 10th in League 2 when he joined - failed to earn promotion, Crawley did, and now successive promotions with the Millers has made it four successful campaigns in four seasons.

"I think it [winning promotion] comes down to genuine hard work," Evans added.

"I don't take great credit from not going away on holiday but I doubt I'll have a break this season, I've got to start preparing for next season.

"You also need loyal, dedicated staff who will put the hours in. Add to that real desire and it all comes together."

His first promotion through the Play-Offs might well go down as the toughest of his career, especially given his side's position at half-time.

Trailing 2-0, the Millers' manager used the interval to tell his players to have no regrets.

"We were on top for the first 20 minutes - they've got a great goal to open the scoring - and then we lost our shape and looked a bit ragged.

"In the minutes leading up to half-time we were hanging on and I was fearing we might go three-down, but we fought in adversity and we made it to the break.

"I told the players to think of their families, think to when they are grandparents, and do they want to be able to look back and remember this day fondly?

"We win a lot of second halves and we came back strong and have the belief we can win big matches. I've always backed myself to compete at this level, even in the early days.

"You have to feel for Leyton Orient and Russell Slade [Orient manager], but it's a brilliant day for our fans, players, the club. To now say Rotherham United are a Championship club is incredible."?

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